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Open Access Research article

The hypoactive corpora cavernosa with degenerative erectile dysfunction: a new syndrome

Ahmed Shafik1*, Ismail Ahmed2, Olfat El Sibai3 and Ali A Shafik4

Author Affiliations

1 Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery and Experimental Research, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

2 Lecturer in Surgery, Department of Surgery and Experimental Research, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

3 Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt

4 Assistant Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery and Experimental Research, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

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BMC Urology 2006, 6:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-6-13

Published: 24 May 2006

Abstract

Background

In a group of 22 patients with erectile dysfunction, vasculogenic, neurogenic, endocrinologic or psychogenic investigations failed to find a cause for their erectile dysfunction. The electro-cavernosograms of these patients recorded a diminished activity. We investigated the hypothesis that diminished corpus cavernosum electromyography activity was the cause of erectile dysfunction in these patients.

Methods

The study comprised the above mentioned 22 patients (study group, 43.8 ± 5.9 SD years) and 15 healthy volunteers (control group, 41.8 ± 5.1 SD years). The electro-cavernosograms were recorded in the flaccid, erectile and detumescent phases by 2 electrodes inserted into the corpus cavernosum.

Results

The electro-cavernosogram of the healthy volunteers registered in the flaccid phase regular slow waves and random action potentials. The wave variables declined significantly in the erectile phase (p < 0.01). In the study group, the slow wave variables in the flaccid phase exhibited a significant decrease (p < 0.05) compared to the healthy volunteers, and the rhythm was irregular. Erection did not occur with sildenafil administration or intracavernosal papaverine injection, and penile implant was performed. Biopsy examination showed degenerated muscle fibers, and fragmented collagen and elastic fibers with areas of fibrosis.

Conclusion

A novel concept of the cause of erectile dysfunction was presented. Corpora cavernosa showed degenerative changes on histopathologic examination and exhibited diminished electromyography activity. They did not respond to sildenafil administration or intracavernosal papaverine injection. Penile implants were the only treatment. The condition is given the name 'hypoactive corpus cavernosum'. The cause of corpus cavernosum degenerative changes needs further study.