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Curr Opin Urol. 2003 Sep;13(5):411-6.

Investigations in erectile dysfunction.

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University Medical Centre, St Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.



This is an update of recent developments in the investigation of erectile dysfunction in the period since March 2002.


Three developments in the field of medical sexology redirected the approach towards the investigation of erectile dysfunction. First, the emergence of oral pharmacological therapy; second, the notion that sexual relationship issues have an important impact on the successful outcome of pharmacological therapy; and finally, the concept that erectile dysfunction is often a sequel or even a sentinel of cardiovascular disease. Consequently, the current evaluation of men with erectile dysfunction may be divided into two steps: a basic diagnostic evaluation for the majority of men, and specific diagnostic procedures for a small minority. The basic evaluation is aimed at the identification of the underlying pathological condition and erectile dysfunction-associated risk factors. Such screening may diagnose reversible causes of erectile dysfunction and also unmask medical and psychological conditions that manifest with erectile dysfunction. The basic evaluation consists of a comprehensive medical, sexual and psychosocial history and a physical examination. Patients who have failed first-line treatment or complicated cases qualify for specific diagnostic procedures, traditionally performed by urologists.


Current research into the investigation of erectile dysfunction emphasizes the notion that erectile dysfunction is often a result of an interplay between medical and psychosexual conditions. Recognition of the underlying conditions and an estimation of their relative contribution to the patient's and his partner's sexual problem are key issues in the current evaluation of the man with erectile dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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