Medtronic successfully tests drug-eluting stent for erectile dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance. Medtronic, one of the medical device giants, tested use of stents in opening up arteries in penis to help erectile dysfunction.

Penile erection is the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. The process is initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis.

Erectile dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance. Besides treating the underlying causes such as potassium deficiency or arsenic contamination of drinking water, the first line treatment of erectile dysfunction consists of a trial of PDE5 inhibitor drugs.

Drug-eluting stent (DES) for the treatment of erectile dysfunction
Dr. Jason Rogers of UC Davis Medical Center Sacramento, CA reported at the VIVA 11 conference in Las Vegas this week about the study on Medtronic’s drug-eluting stents that help men with erectile dysfunction not responding to treatment with drugs. The trial also encountered logistical problems related to the uncharted complex terrain of the pelvic vasculature.

The medical device company conducted a study on 30 men, by placing the zotarolimus coated stents into the internal pudendal artery, which accounts for the blood supply to the penis. This intervention opened the blood vessel and improved blood...



flow towards the penis. The treated men showed improvements on the Index of Erectile Dysfunction scale and there were no adverse effects noticed. Importantly, the treated men were excited and happy with the treatment and its effects. Ultrasound tests also confirmed that the blood flow improved significantly after the placement of the stent at the beginning of the study.

Participant surveys showed that three months intercourse success improved by 38%.  Intention-to-treat analysis showed that 59% percent of patients experienced an improvement in erectile function, as measured by an International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-6) domain score of 4 points or greater.

The trial involved a rare collaboration of vascular interventionalists and urologists/ sexual-medicine specialists. Rogers’s co-investigators were Dr Krishna Rocha-Singh (Prairie Vascular Institute) and Dr Irwin Goldstein (San Diego Sexual Medicine, CA).

Stent are metal wire mesh structured implant that are are most commonly used to open clogged arteries of heart.  Application of stents for erectile dysfunction can open new avenues for stents, which have seen a stagnant growth in the cardiovascular regime.

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