Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition and studies predict that it will become even more common in the future. There is increasing evidence to suggest that it is predominantly a vascular disease and may even be a marker for occult cardiovascular disease. The common pathological process is at the level of the endothelium, and cardiovascular risk factor control may be the key to preventing ED. Many men with established cardiovascular disease have ED. Specific guidelines for the management of ED in these patients have been produced by an expert panel. Cardiovascular risk stratification is an important initial step in managing such patients. In cardiac patients considered to have low cardiovascular risk, the management of ED can be safe and effective.