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Core document on erectile dysfunction: key aspects in the care of a patient with erectile dysfunction


The aim of this Core Document of the Spanish Consensus on Erectile dysfunction (ED) is to offer guidance to the nonspecialist physician in the management of patients with ED. ED is one of the most frequent chronic health problems in men older than 40 y of age and may also act as a sentinel symptom for other important underlying diseases. Its etiology can be classified into organic, psychogenic, or mixed. In most cases, the underlying cause of ED is usually a chronic health problem (such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and so on) or an adverse drug effect. The initial step in the management is to assess erectile function in patients with risk factors for ED. Once ED has been established, a detailed sexual, medical, and social history, including a review of medications used, is the most important aspect of a patient's assessment. Generally, examination should be limited to the cardiovascular, neurological, and urogenital systems. Fasting glucose and blood lipid profile should be performed in every man with ED, and free testosterone levels in men older than 50 y or if hypogonadism is suspected; other diagnostic tests are optional and should be requested on an individualized basis. In many cases, the most likely cause of ED can be identified based on the above information. Therapeutic intervention should be patient-oriented and based on the expectations and wishes of the patient and his partner, who should be included in discussions whenever possible. Basic interventions common to any type of ED include sexual counseling, lifestyle modifications, treatment of associated medical conditions, and switching to alternative drugs with lower risk of ED. In certain cases, an etiologic treatment may be performed (sex therapy, revascularization surgery, and hormonal therapy). Most patients with ED will benefit from symptomatic treatments; first-line therapy may be prescribed by physicians who are not specialists in ED, and includes oral agents such as inhibitors of phosphodiesterase type 5, currently considered the drugs of choice for initial treatment of ED. Intracavernous drugs are the second-line therapy, and surgical treatments, such as implantation of penile prostheses, are reserved for urologists/andrologists who specialize in ED. Referral may be appropriate where indicated by age, clinical findings, or the patient's request.

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Correspondence to F B Brotons.


Appendix A

International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) (See Table A1)

Table 5 Table a1

Appendix B

Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) (See Table A2)

Table 6 Table a2

Appendix C

Decision Algorithm for Patients With Erectile Dysfunction (See Table A3)

Table 7 Table a3

Appendix D

Referral Algorithm for Patients With Erectile Dysfunction (See Table A4)

Table 8 Table a4

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Brotons, F., Campos, J., Gonzalez-Correales, R. et al. Core document on erectile dysfunction: key aspects in the care of a patient with erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 16 (Suppl 2), S26–S39 (2004).

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