Scientists may have found another life-saving function of erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. This time it may not be saving sexual male lives but lives of babies with congenital heart disease.

The drug was found to be effective in preventing a common life-threatening complication called rebound pulmonary hypertension in babies who suffer from heart defects.

Not only did the drug prevent pulmonary hypertension but it also reduced the amount of time the babies needed to spend on mechanical ventilation and in the ICU.

Viagra helps ED by enhancing the body's levels of cyclic-GMP, a naturally occurring substance that relaxes arteries and reduces their pressure. This is exactly what it had been tested for its effects on pulmonary hypertension in newborns.

During the study, 15 infants with congenital heart disease were given a dose of Viagra. None of these infants developed rebound pulmonary hypertension while infants who received placebo did. Babies who received Viagra also needed less time on a mechanical ventilator and stayed shorter in the intensive care unit.

Viagra is routinely used now in pediatric intensive-care units and has already become standard clinical practice.

New studies are being done to check if Viagra could be used in rebound pulmonary hypertension prevention in babies who were born prematurely.