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Study investigates Covid side effect of four-hour erections in men older than 60

File photograph.
File photograph. / SUR
  • The work has been published in the scientific publication American Journal of Emergency Medicine

A new side effect has been added to the long list of complications from Covid-19 infections - the latest one being investigated are erections that can last more than four hours.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has found two cases of patients older than 60 years who have suffered priapism - erections without sexual stimulation - while they were in intensive care units being treated for the infection.

The researchers detected the first case in Miami, Florida, when a 69-year-old man with a history of obesity was admitted to intensive care after a week with respiratory symptoms. He was intubated and placed face down but, when turning him the next day, the nurse observed that he had an erection.

After applying ice and waiting for it to go down naturally, they had to remove the excess blood with a needle. The erection subsided the patient had no further episodes of priapism. However, days later he died due to the coronavirus.

The second confirmed case is that of another man, 62, in Paris. He also suffered from severe respiratory symptoms and had been on a ventilator when it was detected that he had an erection.

As in the other case, the first measure was to apply ice packs, but four hours later the priapism remained. When drawing and testing his blood, doctors observed small blood clots. In this case the treatment was effective and the general condition of the patient improved and 14 days later, the assisted respiration was withdrawn and he ended up being discharged.

After reviewing the cases, the reports conclusion is that “thromboembolic complications that occur in 30 per cent of severe Covid-19 cases had this exceptional symptom.”