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Am J Surg. 2011 Apr;201(4):468-74. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2010.03.017.

Priapism in the United States: the changing role of sickle cell disease.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. chrouser@gmail.com



Few patients with priapism require inpatient management unless they are refractory to intracavernosal therapy. Their risk factors and outcomes are poorly characterized.


This is a retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (1998-2006). Priapism patients were identified and analyzed over time by age, race, sickle-cell disease diagnosis, drug abuse, and penile operations.


A total of 4,237 hospitalizations for priapism were identified (30% white, 61.1% black, and 6.3% Hispanics). There was an increasing incidence of priapism over time, concentrated in the middle-age group. There were 1,776 patients (41.9%) with diagnoses of sickle-cell disease, with decreasing proportions over time. Drug abuse was reported in 7.9%.


Inpatient diagnoses of priapism are increasing over time with relatively constant numbers of sickle-cell disease patients, suggesting rising nonhematologic causes of priapism. One theory is that increasing use of aggressive therapies for erectile dysfunction might play a role, especially when combined with drug abuse.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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