The study included data from more than 2,800 patients who were treated for COVID-19 at facility in Wuhan, China. Of those patients, 29.5% had a history of hypertension—and they were found to have a two-fold greater relative risk of mortality compared to COVID-19 patients with no such history.
In addition, patients with a history of hypertension who weren’t taking recommended antihypertensive treatments—renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors such as Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)—had a higher mortality rate than patients who were taking recommended treatments.
Co-senior author Ling Tao, MD, PhD, also of Xijing Hospital, noted that these findings underscored the importance of taking recommended medications.
“In contrast to our initial hypothesis, we found that RAAS inhibitors, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), were not linked to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 and, in fact, may be protective,” Tao said. “Therefore, we suggest that patients should not discontinue or change their usual antihypertensive treatment unless instructed by a physician.”
In the earliest days of the pandemic, some researcher thought RRAS inhibitors may be bad for the health of patients who test positive for COVID-19. However, numerous cardiovascular societies spoke up at the time and emphasized that there is no evidence that such treatments should stop during this challenging time.