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Rev Urol. 2014;16(4):167-71.

Erectile Dysfunction and Essential Hypertension: The Same Aging-related Disorder?

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Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.


An erection is a mechanical event dependent primarily on corporeal vascular dynamics wherein arterial inflow and storage of blood within the corpora is greater than the egress of blood from the corpora. The most common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of the corporal tissue to store the blood within the corporal sinusoids once inflow into the corpora begins. This failure to store is primarily due to a corporal smooth muscle dysfunction and, in most men, is most likely an aging-related occurrence. Because the corporal smooth muscle is embryologically and physiologically indistinguishable from the smooth muscle within our arterial system, the authors hypothesize that the aging-related dysfunction that occurs within the penis also occurs within the arterial system, and that this smooth muscle dysfunction within the arterial media is most likely the cause of what is called essential hypertension. This panvascular smooth muscle myopathy could explain why hypertension is the most common comorbidity associated with ED and appears to indicate that both ED and essential hypertension are the same disorder, albeit in two different organ systems.


Endothelium; Erection; Hypertension; Smooth muscle


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