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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Jan 3;59(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2011.07.051.

Cardiac uses of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.

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  • 1Heart Institute, Good Samaritan Hospital, 1225 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2395, USA.


Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5Is) improve erectile function by enhancing nitric oxide availability in the penis and its supplying vasculature, resulting in vasodilation and increased blood flow. PDE5Is might benefit cardiovascular diseases because phosphodiesterase-5 is also located elsewhere in the body, including the pulmonary and systemic vasculature and in hypertrophied myocardium. PDE5Is are approved for pulmonary arterial hypertension, given that they improved several hemodynamic and clinical parameters in large randomized trials. Initial evidence suggests that PDE5Is benefit patients with congestive heart failure and secondary pulmonary hypertension. PDE5Is seem to improve hemodynamic and clinical parameters in patients with high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high-altitude pulmonary hypertension. In climbers with prior episodes of HAPE, PDE5Is prevented HAPE in 2 small randomized trials. In small randomized trials of PDE5Is, patients with Raynaud's phenomenon demonstrated improved blood flow, fewer symptoms and frequency of attacks, and resolution of digital ulcers. In addition to enhancing vasodilation, PDE5Is seem to protect the myocardium through complex pathways that involve nitric oxide, cyclic guanosine monophosphate, protein kinase G, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase, B-cell lymphoma protein-2, and Rho kinase inhibition. In animal models of acute myocardial infarction, PDE5Is consistently reduced infarct size indicating cardioprotection and PDE5Is also promote reverse remodeling and reduce myocardial apoptosis, fibrosis, and hypertrophy. PDE5Is might also benefit patients with treatment-resistant hypertension, preeclampsia, or peripheral arterial disease. This review presents the pathophysiology and trial data with regard to the use of PDE5Is for cardiac diseases.

Copyright © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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