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Our objectives were to explore the association between phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor use and lumbar decompression surgery by evaluating the prevalence of lumbar decompression surgery in a treatment group of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis compared with a control group. We performed database review and extracted data including lumbar decompression surgery prevalence, phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor dosage, and fill dates. Treatment group was defined as those with phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor fill dates of less than 30 days before surgery, and control group was defined as those with phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor fill dates at any other time. Lumbar decompression surgery prevalence rates for both groups were calculated. Our study found 599 lumbar spinal stenosis patients who were prescribed phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor. Three hundred thirty-eight underwent lumbar decompression surgery. Of these, 71 (21%) filled their prescription of less than 30 days before surgery, whereas 267 (79%) filled their prescription during a different period. The majority (94.6%) of surgical patients received decompression at two or more spinal levels. Prevalence of lumbar decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis was significantly lower in patients in the treatment group on phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor therapy compared with the control group. Among many potential explanations, the vasodilatory effect of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor may have contributed to a lower surgical rate. This is the first study to explore this novel association. Future prospective studies are necessary to better define the utility of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor in lumbar spinal stenosis. Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Tri Pham, Adam Butler, Rick A Weideman, Thiru M Annaswamy. Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitor Use in Patients Undergoing Decompression Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation. 2022 Apr 01;101(4):341-347

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PMID: 34121069

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