Diagnostic performance of nocturnal penile tumescence studies in healthy, dysfunctional (impotent), and depressed men
Review articleOpen access

AbstractNocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) studies were evaluated in 17 men with a clinical diagnosis of organic erectile dysfunction in comparison to age-matched healthy controls (n = 17) and depressed men (n = 17). The dysfunctional group had significantly fewer NPT episodes and reduced maximal penile tip changes when compared to healthy controls and depressed patients. Further, the dysfunctional group had significantly diminished erectile fullness and reduced penile rigidity. Diagnostic performance of polygraphic (night 1) and visual inspection (nights 2 or 3) components of the NPT protocol were examined in these criterion groups. A diagnostic classification based on polygraphic measures successfully discriminated 73.5% of dysfunctional and healthy control subjects, but classified 47% of depressives in the dysfunctional range. Use of visual inspection indices correctly identified 88% of the dysfunctional sample and 94% of normal controls, and reduced the “false-positive” rate in depression to only 18%. Results support the diagnostic utility of NPT studies, particularly when enhanced by visual inspection procedures. Nevertheless, the presence of major depression may confound interpretation of such studies.

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