Introduction Vacuum devices are a safe and inexpensive treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) particularly when other treatments are not tolerated or contraindicated.
Methods Chart review of patients attending specialist vacuum clinic over 2 year period was conducted. Data collected included outcomes with previous treatments and vacuum device.
Results 55 patients (median age of 65 years) were prescribed a vacuum device. The median time from initial assessment at ED clinic to prescription of the device was 18 months. The majority had significant underlying co-morbidities: 25/55 diabetes, 23/55 CVD, 3/55 prostate surgery, 2/55 stroke, 1/55 spinal injury and 1/55 MS. All patients received prior ED treatment with PDE5i inhibitor and/or intracavernosal alprostadil. With regards to PDE5i, 43/55 reported poor/no response, 1/55 failed to tolerate, and in 11 patients a PDE5i was contraindicated. All 55 patients were subsequently offered intracavernosal alprostadil injections however 17 declined. Of the 38 patients who accepted, 27 reported poor/no response, 7 discontinued due to pain and 4 enquired about alternative treatments. On initial assessment at specialist vacuum clinic 32 patients consented to physical demonstration and all achieved an erection suitable for penetration. 36/55 were discharged after their initial vacuum assessment with no re-referrals. Of the19 reviewed only 1 patient discontinued use of the device and 6 patients continued on additional ED treatments.
Discussion Vacuum devices are a well-tolerated treatment option in those who fail or are deemed unsuitable for other treatments. To date, reported outcomes have been excellent with only 1 patient discontinuing use.