Erectile dysfunction is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but it is unknown what effect the condition has on outcomes following a heart attack.
To find out, researchers studied data on 43,145 men in Sweden aged under 80 years who were hospitalised for a first myocardial infarction.
Over a mean follow-up of 6.2 years, they found that the 7% of men who filed a prescription for an erectile dysfunction medication had a 33% reduced risk of mortality and 40% reduced risk of hospitalisation for heart failure. Further analysis showed that this reduction in mortality risk was only observed in users of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors and not alprostadil users.
Publishing their report in Heart
(online, 9 March 2017), the researchers say the findings should reassure doctors that they can prescribe PDE5 inhibitors to men after a heart attack, provided there are no contraindications.
 Andersson DP, Trolle Lagerros Y, Grotta A et al. Association between treatment for erectile dysfunction and death or cardiovascular outcomes after myocardial infarction. Heart 2017. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-310746