Covid: High Blood Pressure Doubles Risk of Death
Patients with high blood pressure are twice as likely to die from Covid-19, the researchers warn. The latter did not detect any harmful effects of a very common antihypertensive treatment in infected patients.
This is useful new information for the scientific community that has just been highlighted in a study that establishes a link between COVID-19 and high blood pressure. Published in the European Heart Journal, it states that patients with high blood pressure are twice as likely to die from Covid, a risk that particularly affects those who were not taking medication to control their condition. To reach this conclusion, researchers in China and Ireland analyzed data from 2,866 patients admitted to Huo Shen Shan Hospital in Wuhan between February 5 and March 15.
This hospital was opened on February 5 exclusively to treat patients with coronavirus. Of these patients, 29.5% (850) had a medical history of high blood pressure. The researchers found that 34 of 850 hypertensive coronavirus patients died, compared to 22 of 2,027 who did not have hypertension. After adjusting for factors that could affect their results, such as age, sex, and other medical conditions, they established that patients in the first group were more than double the risk (2.12 times). An even higher risk for those who were not taking any treatment.
Lower risk of death from a class of drugs?
In fact, among hypertensive patients who were not taking medications for this chronic disease, 11 of 140 (7.9%) people died from Covid-19 infection compared to 23 of 710 (3). , 2%) for those taking medications. After adjusting for the other same factors, the risk for these untreated patients was 2.17 times higher. To further deepen this link, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis that combines data from patients at this Huo Shen Shan hospital with data from three other studies, including nearly 2,300 patients. Their goal: to establish risk according to drug categories.
The latter were particularly interested in the mortality rate in patients treated with a specific category of drugs to control blood pressure, renin-angiotensin system inhibitors (RAAS). This family of drugs includes ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists (or inhibitors). The researchers say they found a lower risk of death among 183 RAAS-treated patients than among 527 patients treated with other classes of drugs, but cautioned on this point given the small panel of patients taken into account for their study.
"Patients should not interrupt their treatment"
"It is important for patients with high blood pressure to realize that they have an increased risk of dying from Covid-19. They should take care of themselves during this pandemic and need more care if they become infected with the coronavirus, "said one of the study's lead authors, Professor Fei Li, a cardiologist. In addition, the scientific team also cautions that 140 patients admitted to hospital with infection Covid-19 had discontinued their antihypertensive treatment for several reasons. "We found that this was associated with an increased risk of dying from the coronavirus," said Professor Fei Li.
"Contrary to our initial hypothesis, we found that RAAS were not linked to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 and that they could be protective." Therefore, we suggest that patients should not suspend or change their usual antihypertensive therapy unless directed by a doctor, "he adds. At the start of the pandemic, some researchers were genuinely concerned that this class of medication might facilitate the "entry" of the coronavirus into the patient's cells and thus make people more susceptible to infection. But the fact is, this is an observational study, one that is not based on clinical trials.
This is why the researchers believe that it is too early to make clinical recommendations based on these results, and that clinical studies are necessary to examine in particular the role played by this family of drugs. "These data should be interpreted with caution, but they support the recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology according to which patients should not interrupt or modify their antihypertensive treatment," concludes the scientific team.