A new study has found that patients with higher blood pressure face twice as high a risk of dying from the COVID-19 compared to patients without high blood pressure. The research was published in the European Heart Journal on Friday.
Researchers in China and Ireland analysed data from over 2,800 Covid-19 patients admitted between February 5 and March 15 to Wuhan’s Huo Shen Shan Hospital, which is exclusive to Covid patients. Of these patients, 29.5% (850) had a medical history of high blood pressure (hypertension). The researchers found that 34 of these 850 hypertensive patients (4%) with Covid-19 died compared to 22 out of 2,027 patients without hypertension (1.1%) – a 2.12-fold increased risk after adjustment for factors that could affect the results, such as age, sex and other medical conditions.
In addition, the study found that patients with high blood pressure who were not taking medication to control the condition were at even greater risk of dying from Covid-19. Among the patients with hypertension who were not taking medication for the condition, 11 out 140 (7.9%) died from coronavirus compared to 23 out of 710 (3.2%) of those who were taking medication – a 2.17-fold increased risk after adjusting for confounding factors.
In a meta-analysis, the researchers pooled the data from the Huo Shen Wan patients with data from nearly 2,300 patients in three other studies to investigate the death rates in patients being treated with drugs to control blood pressure levels. Specifically, they compared between patients treated with a class of drugs called RAAS inhibitors, and those treated with other drugs. They found a lower risk of death among the 183 patients treated with RAAS inhibitors than in 527 patients treated with other drugs. However, the researchers say this result should be treated with caution as the number of patients in this analysis was small and so it could be due to chance.
The researchers were led by Professors Fei Li and Ling Tao from Xijing Hospital.
As this was a study that looked at data from observations in the hospital, the researchers say it is too early to make clinical recommendations based on these results, and that results from randomised controlled clinical trials are needed.
Source: European Society of Cardiology
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