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J Sex Med. 2007 Sep;4(5):1437-47. Epub 2007 Jul 21.

The role of penile color-duplex ultrasound for the evaluation of erectile dysfunction.

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Department of Medical Pathophysiology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.



In the era of orally active agents, dynamic penile color-duplex ultrasound (D-PCDU) is not considered a necessary first screening for all patients with erectile dysfunction (ED). Various parameters, such as peak systolic flow velocity, end diastolic velocity, resistance index, acceleration time, and degree of arterial dilatation, have been suggested for the diagnosis of vascular ED by D-PCDU.


To highlight the clinical utility and evidence-based interpretation of D-PCDU criteria.


Extensive, unsystematic PubMed literature search reviewing relevant data on D-PCDU in the evaluation of male ED.


The advantage of ultrasound is the minimally invasive nature of the procedure and the ability to screen patients to identify a normal arterial response of cavernous arteries. Men with sexual dysfunctions above 55 years of age and comorbidities are more likely to have multi-organ vascular dysfunction and may necessitate further testing because erectile failure may be the first presenting symptom requiring investigation and treatment even in the absence of cardiovascular risk factors. All patients affected with Peyronie's disease and younger men with persistent ED, a history of pelvic traumas, or fractures of the penile shaft should be offered ultrasonographic penile blood flow studies before referral to surgery or more invasive vascular investigations.


In the near future, D-PCDU may be used in preference to patients presenting with or without vascular risk factors, particularly those not responding to first-line orally active drugs and seeking an explanation as to why these agents failed.

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