Dealing with erectile dysfunction and heart problems: Tom and Suzy's story

Tom and Suzy Riley

Tom Riley, 86, and his wife Suzy, 73, sought advice from their GP about erectile dysfunction. Tom has had heart disease for more than 20 years and has had a heart bypass and heart valve surgery.

Tom, a retired electronics engineer from West Sussex, developed angina in his early 60s. He says: “Day to day the angina was fairly easy to cope with, including the intimacies of marriage, although a little tweak of angina could be felt at the moment of orgasm.”

Tom had a quadruple bypass in 1993 and felt very weak afterwards. When he left hospital he could only walk a few yards, but was determined to keep active. He gradually increased his walking and after a few weeks was able to walk six miles, at which point he and Suzy resumed sex.

At 80, 16 years after the bypass, Tom started to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). He put this down to the effects of blood pressure medication, although ageing can contribute. “My GP prescribed Viagra, which helped, although it affected my vision in bright light,” he says. “We tried Cialis, which caused the same issue plus spots, but at last we changed to Levitra, which was satisfactory in every way.”

A good snuggle is always nice

It may be hard to tell whether problems such as ED or loss of libido are caused by the medication, the heart disease, or its psychological effects.

Last year Tom was told he had a blocked coronary artery, problems with the aortic valve and an abdominal aortic aneurysm. His angina was increasingly troublesome, so the couple put their sex life on hold until after Tom’s operation last October.

“Six weeks later we thought we’d try to resume our sex life without Levitra, as we weren’t sure about using it with my new medications,” says Tom. “The works hadn’t quite recovered, although a good snuggle is always nice. We resolved to wait until after my appointment with our GP.”

The couple got the go-ahead to use Levitra and, says Tom, “It was lovely.”

Tom's advice for talking about sex

"Try to talk openly with your partner. We have no bother discussing it at all. Having a good laugh about it helps.”

Read Tom's full story of his heart problems and how he's dealt with them

Read Martin and Louise's story of resuming sex after Martin's heart attack

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