The prevalence and clinical relevance of sexual dysfunction in women and men with chronic heart failure

E. R. Schwarz, V. Kapur, S. Bionat, S. Rastogi, R. Gupta, S. Rosanio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Sexual dysfunction is a common problem of increasing incidence that is associated with multiple co-morbid conditions and chronic diseases. In heart failure, however, exact numbers are unknown, in part secondary to under-reporting and under-interrogating by health care providers. A gender-specific questionnaire was modified from established sexual dysfunction questionnaires to correspond to a non-randomized outpatient heart failure population, to assess the prevalence and demographic distribution of sexual dysfunction and potential treatments expectations. One-hundred patients in a stable hemodynamic condition in New York Heart Association classes I-III participated. Eighty-seven percent of women were diagnosed with female sexual dysfunction compared to 84% of men with erectile dysfunction. Eighty percent of women reported reduced lubrication, which resulted in frequent unsuccessful intercourse in 76%. Thirty-six percent of patients thought that sexual activity could harm their current cardiac condition; 75% of females and 60% of men stated that no physicians ever asked about potential sexual problems. Fifty-two percent of men considered sexual activity in their current condition as an essential aspect of quality of life and 61% were interested in treatment to improve sexual function. Sexual dysfunction appears to be high in prevalence in both men and women with chronic compensated heart failure and represents a reduction in quality of life for most. Despite the fact that most patients are interested in receiving therapy to improve sexual dysfunction, treatment options are rarely discussed or initiated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart failure
  • Sexual dysfunction


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