nbme19/Block 1/Question#4

66 yo man, 2 months of not being able to maintain an erection; fatigue, poor sleep, poor concentration. 3 months ago suffered stroke with R hemiparesis. Normal physical exam. What do you expect from his libido and nocturnal emissions?

Libido: decreased; Noctural erections: normal

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submitted by pgayed,

Inability to maintain an erection = erectile dysfunction. So now the question is "Why?"

Fatigue, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating is starting to sound like depression. "Difficulty concentrating" might be interpreted as impaired executive function or the beginnings of vascular-related dementia (dementia related to small but numerous cerebral infarcts), but on Step 1 dementia will be blatant (i.e., "lost his way home," "wandering," etc.).

Depression is actually common after a debilitating event like stroke, as you might expect. With depression comes a loss of sexual interest and desire—that is decreased libido.

One can make the argument that a "vascular patient" might have some issues with his "pipes" (arteriosclerosis, parasympathetic/sympathetic dysfunction) and, for this reason, nocturnal erection should be decreased; but note that nothing is mentioned about long-standing vascular disease (no hx of hypertension).

As a result, the best answer choice here is C. (Libido decreased but nocturnal erections normal.) The big question I have is, how the heck does this guy know he's hard when he's asleep!!? :p