News Release

Periodontitis and erectile dysfunction linked to serious cardiovascular events

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Granada

The UGR researchers who conducted this study.

image: The UGR researchers who conducted this study. From left to right: Miguel Ángel Arrabal, Miguel Arrabal, Francisco Mesa, Antonio Magán, and Alejandro Rodríguez view more 

Credit: University of Granada

A team of researchers led by the University of Granada (UGR) has shown in a prospective study that men with periodontitis who are also diagnosed with erectile dysfunction are almost four times more likely to suffer a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE).

These pathologies refer specifically to cerebral infarction, non-fatal myocardial infarction, cardiovascular death, heart failure, acute coronary syndrome (stable and unstable angina), coronary artery bypass grafting, or percutaneous coronary intervention. They were found to occur, on average, four years after the sexual dysfunction was diagnosed.

This study, published in the prestigious Journal of Periodontology (the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology), was conducted by the ‘CTS 583’ research group, led by the UGR’s Francisco Mesa (from the Department of Stomatology), in collaboration with the Urology Service of the ‘Clínico San Cecilio’ Teaching Hospital in Granada. The Director of the Service is Miguel Arrabal of the Department of Surgery and Surgical Specialties at the UGR.

Epidemiological study

These results are of particular importance, given that MACEs are life-threatening in middle-aged men. Thanks to its longitudinal design, this epidemiological association-study provides the greatest volume of scientific evidence among studies of its kind, to date.

Although it was not the aim of the research to identify the cause of this link, the authors attribute it to an accelerated atherosclerotic process triggered by periodontitis—first, in the small vessels of the corpus cavernosum of the penis, and, later, in the rest of the arterioles of other vital organs. Therefore, in the case of men with periodontitis, the onset of erectile dysfunction could be a warning sign of potentially much more serious (cardiovascular) conditions and events in the near future. This line of research was initiated by the authors in 2017 in a case–control (observational) study, in which they demonstrated that men with periodontitis were 2.17 times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

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