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Int Urol Nephrol. 2015 Jan;47(1):47-52. doi: 10.1007/s11255-014-0864-1. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

Is testosterone deficiency a possible risk factor for priapism associated with sickle-cell disease?

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Department of Surgery, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.



The purpose of this study was to determine the association of testosterone deficiency and priapism in adult men with sickle cell disease (SCD).


A cross-sectional study of 50 adult men with SCD (hemoglobin SS) was performed. All patients had early morning blood taken for total and free testosterone, FSH, LH, prolactin, lipid levels, LDH and hematological indices. Patients completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire regarding priapism frequency, duration and treatment. Testosterone deficiency was defined as a serum total testosterone<12 nmol/L (346 ng/dL).


The mean age of the study population was 34.2±8.9 years. Priapism was noted in 24 (48%) patients and was most frequently seen in men between ages 18-25 years. Testosterone deficiency was observed in 11 of the 50 (22%) patients, particularly in 6 of 24 (25%) patients with histories of priapism. There was no difference in mean total testosterone levels in patients with and without a history of priapism (16.7±4.9 nmol/L and 15.4±5.9 nmol/L, respectively) (p=0.43). Similarly, there was no difference in serum LH and FSH levels based on history of priapism.


Testosterone deficiency is prevalent in patients with SCD; however, we did not identify an association based on a history of priapism. Larger, prospectively gathered data are needed to define the priapism profile of SCD patients with testosterone deficiency.

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