The incidence of sexual dysfunction in women after open aortic reconstruction is unknown. Additionally, previous studies of quality of life (QOL) following aortic surgery include small numbers of women compared to those of men. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of elective aortic surgery on sexual function (SF) and QOL in women. Two validated questionnaires, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Short Form 36 (SF-36), were mailed to all women who underwent elective aortic reconstruction between 1995 and 2000. Comparisons were made between preoperative (baseline) SF, 1-year postoperative SF, and SF within the 4 weeks preceding receipt of the questionnaire. The SF-36 responses were compared to national norms. Of the 182 women who underwent elective aortic reconstruction, only 122 patients (67%) were alive and able to complete the questionnaires. Of 56 patients (46%) who had sexual partners, 21 (38%) returned both questionnaires and 22 patients returned only the SF-36 portion. There were no differences in desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, or pain scores. There was a trend toward poorer baseline sexual function in claudicants in all domains, with the pain domain reaching significance (p = 0.03). Previous hysterectomy did not affect sexual function (p > 0.05). Following aortic surgery, patients had a significant decrease in the role-physical (p = 0.03), social functioning (p = 0.01), role-emotional (p < 0.001), and mental health domains (p < 0.001) compared to national norms. There were no differences in QOL scores between claudicants and aneurysm patients or married and nonmarried patients. Sexual function is maintained in women undergoing open reconstructive aortic surgery. Patients with occlusive disease tend to have poorer preoperative sexual function than aneurysm patients. Compared to national norms, QOL is worse in women after aortic surgery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine