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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION: Anxiety Disorders in Patients with Idiopathic Priapism: Risk Factor and Pathophysiologic Link?


Arthur L. Burnett, MD, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Department of Urology, 600 North Wolfe Street, Marburg 407 Baltimore, Maryland 21287. Tel: 410-614-3986; Fax: 410-614-3695; E-mail:


Introduction.  A scientific explanation remains elusive for many presentations of recurrent ischemic priapism.

Aim.  The aim of this article was to evaluate the possible clinical association between idiopathic priapism and anxiety disorders.

Methods.  Twenty-one patients without identifiable, presumed etiologies for their priapism disorders presented consecutively to a single practitioner's clinical practice and underwent clinical history evaluation and management over a 2½-year interval.

Main Outcome Measures.  The main outcome is the documentation of patient demographics and clinical profiles relating to medical history and priapism presentations.

Results.  Anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder were self-reported in 10 patients.

Conclusions.  The possible association between idiopathic priapism and anxiety disorders lends support for a central neurobiologic pathophysiology for the erectile disorder. Further neuropsychiatric studies of this clinical population is required to confirm the hypothesis. Burnett AL. Anxiety disorders in patients with idiopathic priapism: Risk factor and pathophysiologic link? J Sex Med 2009;6:1712–1718.