Erectile drug boosts heart performance: study

Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, the key ingredient of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs, were found to prevent changes to the size and shape of the hearts of people with moderate to severe left ventricular hypertrophy.

The researchers also found that PDE5 inhibitors improved heart performance in all patients with different heart conditions, and did so with minimal side effects.

The study showed that long-term daily use of PDE5 inhibitors had an "excellent cardiovascular safety and tolerability profile even in older patients and under prolonged use," said researchers at a Rome university.

"Our main analysis reveals for the first time a statistically and clinically meaningful improvement in cardiac performance, cardiac index and [ejection fraction]."

While animal studies had shown positive effects of PDE5 inhibitors on a number of heart conditions, this is the first study to do a parallel analysis to show the inhibitor's