Moderate/severe erectile dysfunction in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome

Purpose: To evaluate sexual function of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) patients using the Brazilian version of the validated International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).

Materials and methods: Eleven APS male patients (Sapporo criteria) were age and race-matched with 22 healthy controls. Demographic and clinical data, drug use and antiphospholipid antibodies were evaluated. The IIEF was also self-applied.

Results: Mean age (p = 0.114), frequency of Caucasian race (p = 1.00) and married status (p = 0.438) were similar in APS and controls. Mean disease duration was 8.8 ± 4.6 years. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was frequently observed in APS versus controls (45.5 vs. 4.5%, p = 0.0096), especially moderate/severe ED (p = 0.0081). The total IIEF score (49.6 vs. 67.1, p = 0.019), erectile function (19.6 vs. 28.1, p = 0.005) and intercourse satisfaction (7.8 vs. 11.9, p = 0.009) were lower in patients than in controls. No differences were seen in orgasmic function (p = 0.114), sexual desire (p = 0.123) or overall satisfaction (p = 0.097) between the groups. The comparison between APS patients with ED (n = 5) and without ED (n = 6) revealed more arterial events in APS with ED (100 vs. 16.7%, p = 0.0152), and also longer disease duration (12 [7–16] vs. 5.5 [2–13] years, p = 0.031). A trend towards lower venous events (20 vs. 83.3%, p = 0.0801) and higher renal thrombotic microangiopathy (60% vs. 0, p = 0.0606) was observed in APS patients with ED. Demographics, clinical manifestations, smoking and antiphospholipid antibodies positivity were similar in both groups.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this was the first study that demonstrated moderate/severe ED in almost 50% of cases of a rare autoimmune disease. This alteration was linked to arterial events and longer disease duration.

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