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The link between heart disease and ED

Erectile dysfunction (ED) precedes coronary artery disease (CAD) in almost 70% of cases.1 In fact, ED could be an indicator of silent CAD, heart disease you don’t know you have.

What’s good for your heart is good for your penis

ED problems and heart disease

The blood supply to your penis starts in your heart and flows through arteries in the belly to even smaller arteries that branch off to carry blood into the penis. With sexual stimulation, these blood vessels need to rapidly increase blood flow. If these blood vessels are blocked (atherosclerosis) by coronary artery disease, you may not be able to achieve or maintain an erection.1

ED and heart disease

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by atherosclerosis, the clogging of the arteries seen in heart disease

Which comes first

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction can be related. In fact, ED and heart disease are considered two signs of the same disease process. The smaller arteries in the penis are affected by atherosclerosis sooner, perhaps three or more years before they cause heart disease symptoms.1

A large international study found that men with ED were more likely to die from heart causes; have a heart attack, stroke or be admitted to the hospital with heart failure than men with no or mild ED.2

Take control

You may reduce your risk of ED by improving your heart health. Healthy lifestyle choices often encourage you to stop smoking, lose weight and increase physical activity.

If ED persists, oral medications are a common first therapy for ED. If oral medications don’t work for you, the penile implant may be an option. The implant is concealed inside the body. It offers support for an erection whenever and wherever desired.

What you need to know

ED usually comes 3 or more years before a heart attack, making it a common first sign for men that they have heart disease.1

  • Men on heart disease medication may need ED treatment beyond oral medication.
  • Penile implants have helped many couples return to an active, satisfying sex life.

Treatments beyond medications

Oral medications (Viagra™, Cialis™, Levitra™ and Stendra™) are a common first step to treat ED, but they don’t work for everyone — especially men with heart disease.

Men taking nitrates for heart disease or those taking alpha blocking agents for blood pressure are generally not candidates for oral ED medication.3 In addition, some medications simply do not work for certain men. When ED medication is not the answer, there are other options.

Achieving a satisfying sex life

Finding a satisfying solution to ED can be a life-changing event for many men and their partners.

In one study of 200 patients and 120 partners, both men and their partners found the AMS penile implant to be satisfying. 92% of patients and 96% of their partners reported sexual activity to be excellent or satisfactory.4 Talk to your doctor about your ED treatment options.

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Erectile Dysfunction quiz

Understand the link between your symptoms and ED

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Treatment options

Treatment is available for all men with ED.

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Find a specialist

Find ED specialists to discover your best solution for ED 


  1. Gandaglia G, Briganti A, Jackson G, et al. A systematic review of the association between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Eur Urol. 2014 May;65(5):968–78.
  2. Böhm M, Baumhäkel M, Teo K, et al. Erectile dysfunction predicts cardiovascular events in high-risk patients receiving Telmisartan, Ramipril, or both: The ongoing Telmisartan alone and in combination with Ramipril global endpoint trial/Telmisartan randomized assessment study in ACE intolerant subjects with cardiovascular disease (ONTARGET/TRANSCEND) trials. Circulation. 2010 Mar 30;121(12):1439–46.
  3. Jackson G, Rosen RC, Kloner RA, et al. The second Princeton consensus on sexual dysfunction and cardiac risk: new guidelines for sexual medicine. J Sex Med. 2006 Jan;3(1):28–36.
  4. Montorsi F, Rigatti P, Carmingnani G, et al. AMS three-piece inflatable implants for erectile dysfunction: a long-term multi-institution study in 200 consecutive patients. Eur Urol. 2000 Jan;37(1):50–5.