Sexual function is impaired in women and men with pulmonary hypertension

Paul M. Hendriks, Diederik P. Staal, Hester Pastoor, Corine I.A. Kolpa, Annemien E. van den Bosch, Marco C. Post, Karin A. Boomars*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Sexual health related quality of life (SHRQoL) is an important pillar of health related quality of life (HRQoL). The aim of this study was to investigate sexual functioning in men and women with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Methods and results: In this cross-sectional study, a total of 78 patients were included, 49 were diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension and 29 with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (median age 53 [IQR: 46–67 years], 66.7% female). All patients completed SHRQoL questionnaires; for women: ASEX, FSFI, and FSDS and for men: ASEX and IIEF. A PH-specific SHRQoL questionnaire was created based on 4 semi-structured interviews to investigate PH-specific barriers in sexuality. More than half of the patients experienced symptoms during sexual activity, mainly dyspnea (52.6%) and palpitations (32.1%). Sexual dysfunction was present, according to the FSFI-questionnaire, in 63.0% of women. All of the men experienced at least mild dysfunction in one of the domains of the IIEF and erectile dysfunction was present in 48.0%. Sexual dysfunction occurred more often in both men and women with PH than in the general population. PAH-specific medication was not associated with sexual dysfunction, nor was subcutaneous or intravenous pump therapy (OR 1.14, 95%-CI: 0.75–1.73). Diuretics were associated with sexual dysfunction in women (OR 4.01, 95%-CI: 1.04–15.41). Of all patients committed in a relationship, 69.0% would like to discuss sexuality with their healthcare provider. Conclusion: This study showed a high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in men and women with PH. It is important for healthcare providers to discuss sexuality with patients. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-990
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Research in Cardiology
Issue number7
Early online date30 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank respiratory physicians L.M. van den Toorn, P.P. Chandoesing and the specialized PH nurses Jolande Ooijevaar, Lieke de Roest and Miriam Kap at the Erasmus MC and respiratory physicians J.J. Mager, S. Boerman and the specialized PH nurses Ingrid Verheul and Maud van der Wijden at the St. Antonius Hospital for their contribution to this study.

Funding Information:
This research project was supported by the Dutch Patient Association for Pulmonary Hypertension and an unrestricting research grant by Johnson&Johnson—Actelion pharmaceuticals. Study design, data collection, data-analysis and writing of the manuscript was performed without involvement of the sponsors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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