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Priapism with intracavernosal alprostadil

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

An erection lasting 4-6 hours is a medical emergency - in this situation the patient should attend the local accident and emergency department to avoid damage to the intracavernous muscle and blood vessels which could result in permanent ED

  • patients should be advised initially to take light exercise such as going up and down stairs
  • if the prolonged erection persists, a 19-gauge butterfly needle should be inserted into the corpora cavernosa to aspirate blood and thereby decrease intracavernous pressure
  • further improvements can be gained by ‘washing out’ the corpora by injecting in saline and then withdrawing the saline and blood together
  • if this is not effective or if the penis becomes rigid again, phenylephrine or adrenaline injection may be effective

A lower dose of alprostadil should be used for any subsequent injections (1)


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