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Management of refractory ischemic priapism: current perspectives

Authors Capece M, Gillo A, Cocci A, Garaffa G, Timpano M, Falcone M

Received 9 March 2017

Accepted for publication 11 May 2017

Published 29 August 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 175—179


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli

Marco Capece,1 Arianna Gillo,2 Andrea Cocci,3 Giulio Garaffa,1 Massimiliano Timpano,4 Marco Falcone4

The Institute of Urology, University College of London Hospital (UCLH), London, UK; 2Department of Urology, “Umberto Parini” Hospital, Aosta, 3Department of Urology, Careggi Hospital, Firenze, 4Department of Urology, University of Turin, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy

Objectives: The aim of the present manuscript is to review the current literature on priapism, focusing on the state-of-the-art knowledge of both the diagnosis and the treatment of the refractory ischemic priapism (IP).
Methods: Pubmed and EMBASE search engines were used to search for words “priapism”, “refractory priapism”, “penile prosthesis”, “diagnosis priapism”, “priapism treatment”, “penile fibrosis”, “priapism therapy”. All the studies were carefully examined by the authors and then included in the review.
Results: First-line treatment involves ejaculation, physical exercise and cold shower followed by corporal blood aspiration and injection of α-adrenoceptor agonists. Subsequently, a distal or proximal shunt may be considered. If none of the treatment is effective or the priapism episode lasts >48 hours penile prosthesis implantation could be the only option to solve the priapism and treat the ongoing erectile dysfunction.
Conclusion: The management of IP is to achieve detumescence of persistent penile erection and to preserve erectile function after resolution of the priapic episode. On the other hand, penile fibrosis and following shortening should be prevented. Early penile prosthesis implantation in patients with refractory IP is able to solve both the priapic episode and prevent the otherwise certain penile shortening. Penile prosthesis implantation is the actual gold standard of care in cases of refractory IP.

Keywords: priapism, ischemic priapism, penile fibrosis, penile prosthesis, shunt

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