Persistent Sexual Dysfunction Impairs Quality of Life after Cardiac Transplantation



Introduction.  The impact of sexual dysfunction (SD) on mental and physical health after heart transplantation (HTx) has not been established.

Aim.  We investigated the relationship of SD on quality of life (QoL), physical and mental health, and depressive symptoms after HTx.

Main Outcome Measures.  We evaluated SD according to the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction and the Female Sexual Function Index. QoL, physical and mental health were assessed using: 1) Short Form 12 Health Survey Questionnaire, 2) Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire—Short Form, and two depressive symptoms questionnaires: 1) Beck Depression Inventory-II and 2) Quick Inventory Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report.

Methods.  We enrolled patients who were greater than 6 months post HTx. Patients unable to read English, had pelvic surgery or trauma, urogenital abnormalities, or sexually inactive were excluded.

Results.  Out of 79 subjects that were screened, 33 men and 6 women participated (mean age 61.4 + 11.4). Response rates were at least 82% for all questionnaires. Overall prevalence of SD was 61%, with 78% of men being affected and 50% of women. There was no significant difference in measures between genders. HTx recipients with SD reported significantly worse QoL on measures of physical health when compared to those without SD. After HTx, patients suffering from SD had significantly worse general health (P = 0.02) and physical health (P = 0.02), including physical functioning (P = 0.01) and physical role limitation (P = 0.01). In contrast, mental health and depressive symptoms after HTx were not significantly different between those with and without SD.

Conclusions.  After HTx a high prevalence of SD remains among both men and women. Patients with SD had worse general and physical health but not depressive symptoms when compared to those without SD. The contributing factors may be more related to physical rather than psychological causes. Phan A, IsHak WW, Shen B-J, Fuess J, Philip K, Bresee C, Czer L, and Schwarz ER. Persistent sexual dysfunction impairs quality of life after cardiac transplantation. J Sex Med 2010;7:2765–2773.