COVID-19 patients with high blood pressure twice as likely to die: Study
Patients with high blood pressure admitted to hospital with coronavirus infections are twice as likely to die as those without the condition, Chinese study found.
The international team of researchers, led by Fei Li and Ling Tao of the department of cardiology at Xijing Hospital in Xian, China, studied the records of 2,866 patients treated in Wuhan, where the coronavirus epidemic was first noticed. Just under 30% of them had high blood pressure.
Soon after we started to treat Covid-19 patients in early February in Wuhan, we noticed that nearly half of the patients who died had high blood pressure, which was a much higher percentage compared to those with only mild Covid-19 symptoms," Tao said in a statement.
4% of patients with high blood pressure died
The team found that 4% of patients with high blood pressure died, compared to 1.1% of those with normal blood pressure. After some adjustments for differences among the patients, that worked out to a doubled risk of dying for the patients with high blood pressure. And 7.9% of patients who had stopped taking their blood pressure medications died.
For in-patients with the virus who had stopped taking medication for high blood pressure, the risk of dying doubled again, they reported in the European Heart Journal.
Drugs to control high blood pressure may help protect against severe COVID-19
Widely used drugs to control high blood pressure may help protect against severe COVID-19, the new study found, thus allaying concerns that they could make the illness caused by the coronavirus worse.
Several papers had suggested the drugs may increase COVID-19 susceptibility.
We were quite surprised that these results did not support our initial hypothesis; in fact, the results were in the opposite direction, with a trend in favor of ACE inhibitors and ARBs,” said coauthor Fei Li of Xijing Hospital in Xi’an, China.
The evidence so far is from observational studies rather than randomized trials, but for the time being, “we suggest that patients should not discontinue or change their usual antihypertensive treatment unless instructed by a physician,” Li said.
The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America have recommended that patients continue the hypertension drugs prescribed to them.
The results open the door to the possibility that these drugs could be studied as a treatment for COVID-19, Dr. Luis Ruilope of the Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre in Madrid wrote in an editorial in the journal.
Read the whole study HERE