REPORT: The Second Princeton Consensus on Sexual Dysfunction and Cardiac Risk: New Guidelines for Sexual Medicine


Graham Jackson, MD, Cardiothoracic Center, St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK. Tel: 44 207 188 1029; Fax: 44 207 357 7408; E-mail:


Introduction.  Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a highly prevalent disorder associated with a significant burden of illness. The prevalence and incidence of ED are strongly age-related, affecting more than half of men >60 years. The first Princeton Consensus Conference (Princeton I) in 1999 developed guidelines for safe management of cardiac patients regarding sexual activity and the treatment of ED.

Aim.  The second conference (Princeton II) was convened to update the recommendations based on the expanding knowledge base and new treatments available. This article reviews and expands on the Princeton II guidelines to address sexual dysfunction and cardiac risk.

Methods.  A consensus panel of experts reviewed recent multinational studies in safety and drug interaction data for three phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil), with emphasis on the safety of these agents in men with ED and concomitant cardiovascular disease.

Results.  Erectile dysfunction is an early symptom or harbinger of cardiovascular disease, due to the common risk factors and pathophysiology mediated through endothelial dysfunction. Major comorbidities include diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and heart disease. Any asymptomatic man who presents with ED that does not have an obvious cause (e.g., trauma) should be screened for vascular disease and have blood glucose, lipids, and blood pressure measurements. Ideally, all patients at risk but asymptomatic for coronary disease should undergo an elective exercise electrocardiogram to facilitate risk stratification. Lifestyle intervention in ED, specifically weight loss and increased physical activity, particularly in patients with ED and concomitant cardiovascular disease, is literature-supported.

Conclusions.  The recognition of ED as a warning sign of silent vascular disease has led to the concept that a man with ED and no cardiac symptoms is a cardiac (or vascular) patient until proven otherwise. Men with ED and other cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., obesity, sedentary lifestyle) should be counseled in lifestyle modification. Jackson G, Rosen RC, Kloner RA, and Kostis JB. The second Princeton consensus on sexual dysfunction and cardiac risk: new guidelines for sexual medicine. J Sex Med 2006;3:28–36.