Stent surgery may stop erectile dysfunction

Last week, the first stents of a study by Medtronic were implanted by Dr. Krishna Rocha-Singh, the director of the Prairie Vascular Institute in Springfield, Illinois. The hope with the stent is to help men who have taken Viagra, or other medications for erectile dysfunction without the pills making any difference. The hope is that the stent surgery may stop erectile dysfunction.

Viagra, cialis, and levitra only help about half of the patients they were meant to help, says Dr. Martha Sanda, director of the prostate cancer center at Beth Israel Deaconess Center in Boston. The stent surgery may be invasive, but if it works, it may become quite commercial in the sense that it will be popular, like the breast implant, writes ABC news.

Doctors are finding that erectile dysfunction may be linked to coronary artery disease. With CAD, arteries become occluded and blood flow is decreased. The stent is placed in arteries in the pelvis to open up the arteries and allow blood flow, thus correcting the erectile dysfunction. Researchers are still uncertain as to who the stent will be most effective. The study is meant to figure that out.

The study includes 50 patients at 10 separate medical centers. Some doctors around the country are questioning as to whether the surgery will prove to be effective. However, the only way to know is to do research. That is the purpose of a study. Dr. Jerome Richie, the chief of urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston thinks that the surgery may help younger men stating, “I would foresee this stent as an application for younger individuals who have had traumatic injuries that decrease arterial inflow. Other than that selected group, I do not foresee widespread applicability.”

The study is called Zen. According to Reuters, a lead researcher Dr. Jason Rogers, director of interventional cardiology at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, stated that there has been an established link between coronary artery disease and erectile dysfunction. In regards to the study and this link, Rogers states, “Based on this evidence, we are investigating the use of stents in pelvic arteries to determine whether it may provide a new treatment approach and enable better response to drug therapies.”

The study will also investigate whether the surgery is safe and improves the erectile dysfunction. The pelvic artery stenting results are expected to be out in 2011. It will be interesting to see what happens and if men who are not helped by drugs can be helped with the stent.


Jenny Decker RN

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