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SYMPOSIUM
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 220-224

Investigating a patient with erectile dysfunction: Is it really necessary?


Via Pansini 5, Napoli, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Vincenzo Mirone
Via Pansini 5, Napoli
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.27628

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The National Institute of Health defined erectile dysfunction as the persistent inability to achieve and/or to maintain an erection for a satisfactory sexual performance. Erectile dysfunction must be considered a public health problem for its high prevalence worldwide. Aetiology of erectile dysfunction can be classified as organic, psychogenic or mixed. Erectile dysfunction must be considered the first sign of many diseases. Thus, a correct diagnostic approach is essential before starting an effective therapeutic regimen. Current guidelines concerning management of erectile dysfunction agree on the great importance of anamnesis as being the basis of a correct diagnosis of erectile deficit. First level diagnostic tests, including anamnesis, validated questionnaire, routine laboratory tests and hormonal profile seem enough to make an aetiological diagnosis of erectile dysfunction and to identify and remove any erectile dysfunction (ED) risk factors in most cases. First level tests should be performed, so than urologists can accurately diagnose ED and prescribe relevant treatment. Second level diagnostic evaluation includes specialistic instrumental exams that can be helpful for accurate aetiological diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. These exams, including Penile dynamic colour-duplex. Doppler ultrasonography, nocturnal penile tumescence recording, cavernosometry/cavernosography and neurological investigation, should be performed when first level diagnostic assessment is not clear, when the presence of an underlying organic pathology should be excluded in young patients with persistent ED, when veno-occlusive or neurogenic ED is suspected and when a better definition of the disease is needed.


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