Introduction: Previous cross-sectional studies have suggested that erectile dysfunction (ED) represents an independent risk factor for future cardiovascular events. However, very few studies have attempted to examine the association between ED and subsequent stroke. Aim: The aim of this study is to estimate the risk of stroke during a 5-year follow-up period after the first ambulatory care visit for the treatment of ED using nationwide, population-based data and a retrospective case-control cohort design in Taiwan. Methods: This study used data sourced from the "Longitudinal Health Insurance Database." The study cohort comprised 1,501 patients who received a principal diagnosis of ED between 1997 and 2001 and 7,505 randomly selected subjects as the comparison cohort. Each patient (N = 9,006) was then individually tracked for 5 years from their index ambulatory care visit to identify those who had diagnosed episodes of stroke.Main Outcome Measure. Stratified Cox proportional hazard regressions were performed as a means of comparing the 5-year stroke-free survival rate for the two cohorts. Results: Of the sampled patients, 918 (10.2%) developed stroke within the 5-year follow-up period, that is, 188 individuals (12.5% of the patients with ED) from the study cohort and 730 individuals (9.7% of patients in the comparison cohort) from the comparison cohort. The log-rank test indicated that patients with ED had significantly lower 5-year stroke-free survival rates than those in the comparison cohort (P <0.001). After adjusting for the patient's monthly income, geographical location, hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation, and hyperlipidemia, patients with ED were more likely to have a stroke during the 5-year follow-up period than patients in the comparison cohort (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval = 1.08 - 1.54, P <0.01). Conclusions: These results suggest that ED is a surrogate marker for future stroke in men.
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