What is the role of ultrasonography in the evaluation of erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Updated: Aug 08, 2018
  • Author: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Vascular function within the penis can be evaluated by means of duplex ultrasonography. In this procedure, blood flow in the cavernosal arteries within the corpora cavernosa is measured before and after the intracavernosal injection of a test dose of a standard vasodilator (eg, 20 µg of PGE1).

Criteria for evaluating the study results vary to some degree. A peak systolic velocity lower than 25 cm/sec is generally agreed to indicate arterial insufficiency. The proposed value for the lower limit of normal ranges from 25-35 cm/sec, but a peak systolic velocity of 35 cm/sec or higher clearly rules out arterial insufficiency. End-diastolic velocity serves as a proxy for venous outflow; a velocity of 5 cm/sec or lower when the penis is at full rigidity indicates the absence of abnormal venous leakage.


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