Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular risk in men with rheumatoid arthritis: A population-based cohort study

Katelynn M. Wilton, Sara J. Achenbach, John M. Davis, Elena Myasoedova, Eric L. Matteson, Cynthia S. Crowson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Both erectile dysfunction (ED) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) risk. It is unknown if these diagnoses are associated or if their combination confers additional CV risk. We aimed to define the incidence of ED in RA, and to determine if ED correlates with increased CV risk in RA. Methods. Medical information concerning RA, ED, and CV diagnoses for men with RA (n = 260) diagnosed in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and age-matched male comparators was extracted from a comprehensive medical record system. Results. ED incidence was similar between the RA cohort and comparators (HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.55-1.16). In men with RA, ED diagnosis was associated with a trend toward an increase in peripheral arterial disease (HR 2.22, 95% CI 0.98-5.03) and a significantly decreased rate of myocardial infarction (HR 0.26, 95% CI 0.07-0.90), heart failure (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.25-0.94), and death (HR 0.56; 95% CI 0.36-0.87). In men with RA and ED, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor use was associated with a decreased risk of death (HR 0.35, 95% CI 0.16-0.79), with a trending decreased risk of some CV diagnoses. Conclusion. Incidence of ED was not statistically increased in RA. Although patients with both RA and ED had a similar overall CV risk to those with RA alone, men with both RA and ED had decreased risk of heart failure, myocardial infarction, and death, as well as an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease. Further studies are needed to clarify these associations and their implications for pathogenesis and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1641-1647
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Epidemiology
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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