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BJU Int. 2018 May;121(5):811-818. doi: 10.1111/bju.14149. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Impact of testosterone replacement therapy on thromboembolism, heart disease and obstructive sleep apnoea in men.

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Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Urological Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Urology, Marien Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, Herne, Germany.
Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Section on Men's Health, Aging and Metabolism, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



To assess the association of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) with thromboembolism, cardiovascular disease (stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).


A cohort of 3 422 male US military service members, retirees and their dependents, aged 40-64 years, was identified, who were prescribed TRT between 2006 and 2010 for low testosterone levels. The men in this cohort were matched on a 1:1 basis for age and comorbidities to men without a prescription for TRT. Event-free survival and rates of thromboembolism, cardiovascular events and OSA were compared between men using TRT and the control group, with a median follow-up of 17 months.


There was no difference in event-free survival with regard to thromboembolism (P = 0.239). Relative to controls, men using TRT had improved cardiovascular event-free survival (P = 0.004), mainly as a result of lower incidence of coronary artery disease (P = 0.008). The risk of OSA was higher in TRT users (2-year risk 16.5% [95% confidence interval 15.1-18.1] in the TRT group vs 12.7% [11.4-14.1] in the control group.


This study adds to growing evidence that the cardiovascular risk associated with TRT may be lower than once feared. The elevated risk of OSA in men using TRT is noteworthy.


cardiovascular risk; hypogonadism; male aging; obstructive sleep apnoea; testosterone; thromboembolism

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