Sexual activity is no more stressful to the heart when compared with a numb
er of other natural daily activities, e.g. walking one mile on the level in
The cardiac risk of sexual activity in patients diagnosed with cardiovascul
ar disease is minimal in properly assessed and advised patients.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common, affecting 10% of men aged 40-70 years
and increases in frequency with age.
ED and cardiovascular disease share many of the same risk factors and often
ED in the diagnosed cardiovascular patient should be identified by routine
questioning in general practice. Modern therapies can restore a sexual rela
tionship in the majority of patients with ED and can lead to a substantial
improvement in quality of life.
The majority of patients assessed to be at low or intermediate cardiac risk
, as defined later in this paper (Table 4), can be effectively managed in p
rimary care. Primary care treatment for ED in patients defined as high risk
can be initiated following a specialist opinion and/or confirmation that t
he patient's cardiovascular condition is stabilised.
There is no evidence that currently licensed treatments for ED add to the o
verall cardiovascular risk in patients with or without diagnosed cardiovasc