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J Sex Med. 2008 Jan;5(1):237-40. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency: an etiology for idiopathic priapism?

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1
Department of Urology, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. aburnett@jhmi.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Efforts to identify the health risk associations for priapism may reveal pathophysiologic mechanisms for the disorder and suggest a scientifically rational approach for correcting it.

AIM:

We describe a clinical presentation of idiopathic recurrent priapism in a patient with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and consider a possible nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mechanistic basis from which the medical condition causes priapism.

METHODS:

The case report profiled a 35-year-old African-American man with G6PD deficiency who presented with a rapid progression of recurrent priapism episodes. He was outwardly healthy and did not have sickle cell disease or trait by hematologic screening. His management featured use of a long-term, continuous phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor therapeutic regimen.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Clinical history data and response to PDE5 inhibitor therapy.

RESULTS:

After a 3-month duration of PDE5 inhibitor therapy, priapism recurrences were sufficiently resolved and the patient discontinued therapy. At 18-month clinical follow-up, he experienced only minor priapism recurrences and retention of full erectile ability.

CONCLUSIONS:

G6PD deficiency offers an explanation for idiopathic priapism. The medical condition generates a pathophysiologic milieu consistent with aberrant NO signaling and heightened oxidative stress in the penis.

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