Patients with cardiovascular disease may develop erectile dysfunction for one or more reasons. Many drugs used to treat congestive heart failure, hypertension and angina can cause or exacerbate erectile dysfunction. Beta-blockers, commonly used for all three conditions, as well as antihypertensive drugs, such as ACE inhibitors, can be implicated. Examples of beta-blockers are carvedilol or Coreg; atenolol or Tenormin; and metoprolol or Lopressor. Examples of ACE inhibitors are captopril and enalapril.
Psychological trauma of major illness or surgery is another way in which cardiovascular disease can cause erectile dysfunction. After the occurrence of such an event, the patient may be subconsciously afraid to engage in sexual activity, and this may manifest as erectile dysfunction.
Finally, occlusive disease, or obstructions, of the cardiovascular system may be generalized to other parts of the vascular system. Thus, a patient with coronary artery occlusive disease is more likely to have disease of the carotid arteries in the neck, which can lead to strokes. In the same way, occlusive disease of the blood supply to the genital organs may diminish blood flow to the penis and prevent the attainment of a successful erection.