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Pacemaker Worries Causing Erectile Dysfunction

Implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can be a cause of erectile dysfunction due to the apprehension of possibly inducing the device to emit a shock, whilst having sex. This was revealed during a conference at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions last November.

ICD’s are battery powered implants for moderating the heartbeat for irregular rhythms. It administers a shock to restore a natural rhythm, when it finds an irregularity, which can be quite painful to the patient. The research had 151 volunteers, 41 of which were fitted with an ICD with average age of 37. 41%, and 49% of those without were female patients.

Those taking part completed a questionnaire about their sexual function. Included were questions about depression and how much they worried about receiving a shock from the ICD. The male participants’ survey was on the topic of confidence, pleasure and maintaining an erection, whereas the females were asked about arousal, pleasure and painfulness during intercourse.

The results were that the men with ICD’s had an average sexual function score of 19 which is similar to mild erectile dysfunction and the score for men without, reported normal sexual ability. The scores for women with or without ICD’s were more or less the same at 65 and 67. Both genders that ‘getting shocked’ was their worst fear had low sexual function results.

In the depression category of the questions, the results were within a normal range and equal whether with or without an ICD.

Overall the results of the research indicate that communication between doctors and their patient, can be crucial before and after the procedure to fit the ICD and if needed giving appropriate counselling.

A successful medication for erectile dysfunction is Viagra and has been available for more than a decade for the treatment of ED.

Significant others of ICD recipients were consulted for another study conducted by Cynthia M. Dougherty, R.N., Ph.D. This found that carers’ mental disposition improved, but physical health declined, during the year post op. The participants had an average age of 60, 84% were female, 97% were Caucasian and none of them were suffering from heart disease.

With this information it would be advisable to help carers during the first three months after their partner receives their ICD. As this appears that the most stressful time for the carers is when the patient leaves hospital and the adjustments to daily life.

Viagra is a PDE5 Inhibitor. Other PDE5 Inhibitors used to treat ED are Cialis and Levitra.

 

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