, Volume 190, Issue 5, pp 545–556 | Cite as

Sexual Dysfunction in Men with COPD: Impact on Quality of Life and Survival

  • Eileen G. Collins
  • Sahar Halabi
  • Mathew Langston
  • Timothy Schnell
  • Martin J. Tobin
  • Franco Laghi



Most patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are middle-aged or older, and by definition all have a chronic illness. Aging and chronic illness decrease sexual interest, sexual function, and testosterone levels. To date, researchers have not simultaneously explored prevalence, risk factors, and impact of sexual dysfunctions on quality of life and survival in men with COPD. We tested three hypotheses: First, sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction, are highly prevalent and impact negatively the quality of life of those with COPD. Second, gonadal state is a predictor of erectile dysfunction. Third, erectile dysfunction, a potential maker of systemic atherosclerosis, is a risk factor for mortality in men with COPD.


In this prospective study, sexuality was assessed in 90 men with moderate-to-severe COPD (40 hypogonadal) by questionnaire. Testosterone levels, comorbidities, dyspnea, depressive symptoms, and survival (4.8 years median follow-up) were recorded.


Seventy-four percent of patients had at least one sexual dysfunction, with erectile dysfunction being the most common (72 %). Most were dissatisfied with their current and expected sexual function. Severity of COPD was equivalent in patients with and without erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone, depressive symptoms, and presence of partner were independently associated with erectile dysfunction. Severity of lung disease and comorbidities, but not erectile dysfunction, were independently associated with mortality (p = 0.006).


Sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction, were highly prevalent and had a negative impact on quality of life in men with COPD. In addition, gonadal state was an independent predictor of erectile dysfunction. Finally, erectile dysfunction was not associated with all-cause mortality.


Endocrine Erectile dysfunction Testosterone Sexuality Aging Outcome 



This work was supported in part by grants from AMVETS and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development Rehabilitation Research and Development Service.

Conflict of interest

Eileen G. Collins, Sahar Halabi, Mathew Langston, Timothy Schnell, Martin Tobin, and Franco Laghi have no conflicts of interest of financial ties to disclose.

Supplementary material

408_2012_9398_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eileen G. Collins
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sahar Halabi
    • 1
  • Mathew Langston
    • 1
    • 3
  • Timothy Schnell
    • 1
    • 3
  • Martin J. Tobin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Franco Laghi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineEdward Hines, Jr. VA HospitalHinesUSA
  2. 2.College of NursingUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineLoyola UniversityMaywoodUSA
  4. 4.Research ServicesEdward Hines, Jr. VA HospitalHinesUSA

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