American Heart Association Provides Latest Research Updates On Hypertension Drugs ACE-i And ARBs For COVID-19 Patients
ACE-i And ARBs-COVID-19
: According to latest research findings presented at the virtual American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2020 Scientific Sessions that was held Sept. 10-13, 2020, reducing or eliminating high blood pressure medications if blood pressure becomes hypotensive, falling below 120/70 mm Hg, could prevent acute kidney injury (AKI) and death in COVID-19 patients.
During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Heart Association issued a joint statement with the Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology to address the use of ACE-i and ARB medications among patients at risk for developing COVID-19. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/patients-taking-ace-i-and-arbs-who-contract-covid-19-should-continue-treatment-unless-otherwise-advised-by-their-physician
At that time the recommendations called for the continuation of ACE-i or ARB medications among patients already taking them for indications such as heart failure, hypertension or ischemic heart disease. Cardiovascular disease patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should be fully evaluated before adding or removing any treatments, and any changes to their treatment should be based on the latest scientific evidence and shared-decision making with their physician and health care team.
Dr Mariell Jessup, M.D., FAHA, chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association told Thailand Medical News, “While we continue to learn more about the complex impact of COVID-19 every day, we know that individuals with cardiovascular disease and/or hypertension are at much higher risk for serious complications including death from COVID-19.”
He further added, ” “We continue to monitor and review the latest research, and we strongly recommend all doctors to consider the individual needs of each patient before making any changes to ACE-i or ARB treatment regimens. The latest research findings do suggest, however, that these medications should be discontinued in patients who develop hypotension in order to avoid severe kidney damage.”
According to this study author DrPaolo Manunta, M.D., Ph.D., chair of nephrology at San Raffaele University in Milan-Italy, “AKI or Acute kidney injury, also known as acute kidney failure, is a serious COVID-19 complication, and many people with the virus are at risk.”
To determine which COVID-19 patients are most at risk for kidney damage, Dr Manunta and colleagues studied 392 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March 2 and April 25, 2020, treated at one center in Italy.
The study team found that:
-Almost 60% had a history of hypertension, making it the most common co-occurring health issue in these patients.
-Slightly more than 86% of patients with high blood pressure were taking anti-hypertensive medications daily.
-On the whole, 6.2% of the patients came into the emergency department with acute kidney injury ie kidney function and hypertension were the main determinants of whether a person had acute kidney injur
-Significantly having a history of hypertension increased the risk of acute kidney injury by about five-fold.
-Interestingly patients presenting to the emergency department who had severe hypotension, meaning blood pressure lower than 95/50 mm Hg, were nine times more likely to have acute kidney injury; while those who had mild hypotension, blood pressure lower than 120/70 mm Hg but not in the severe range, were four times more likely to have acute kidney injury.
-Most COVID-19 patients who were more likely to develop acute kidney injury while hospitalized were elderly, hypertensive or had severe respiratory distress.
-But overall, in-hospital death was twice as likely in patients with mild hypotension when they arrived at the emergency department, regardless of age, other diseases and COVID-19 severity.
Dr Manunta further added, “Our research suggests low blood pressure in a person with a history of high blood pressure is an important and independent signal that someone with COVID-19 is developing or has acute kidney injury.”
He added, “This also implies that individuals with high blood pressure should carefully monitor it at home, and their kidney function should be measured when they’re first diagnosed with COVID-19. If they or their doctors notice blood pressure levels going down to the hypotensive range, their doctors may consider reducing or stopping their blood pressure medications to prevent kidney damage and possibly even death.”
The research limitations include its relatively small sample size in a single-center population and the brevity of the study period.
The co-authors are Dr Chiara Livia Lanzani, M.D.; Dr Marco Simonini, M.D; Dr Elisabetta Messaggio, B.S.; Dr Teresa Arcidiacono, M.D.; Dr Paolo Betti, M.D.; Dr Romina Bucci, M.D.; Dr Fontana Simonet, M.D.; Dr Caterina Conte, M.D.; Dr Giuseppe Vezzoli, M.D.; Dr Patrizia Rovere-Querini, M.D., Ph.D.; Dr Conte Caterina M.D.; and Dr Ciceri Fabio M.D., Ph.D. IRCCS San Raffaele funded this study.
Another study showed that pre-existing high blood pressure was common in those hospitalized for COVID-19
In this new study researchers confirmed previous findings that hypertension is the most common co-existing disease among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The study team analyzed 22 studies from eight countries with more than 11,000 total, hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The team found 42% of patients had hypertension, followed by diabetes mellitus, which affected 23% of patients.
Significantly, hypertension, alone, was associated with a higher likelihood of death.
Also surprisingly, hypertension was notably more common than the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to the researchers.
The researchers in the abstract said, “More randomized studies are needed to assess the effect of hypertension on mortality in COVID-19 patients.”
The study authors are Dr Vikramaditya Reddy Samala Venkata, M.D.; Dr Rahul Gupta, M.D.; and Dr Surya Kiran Aedma, M.D.
The third study presented, the study team said that common blood pressure-lowering drugs may pose increased risks for COVID-19 patients
Researchers from the University of Miami/JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida, studied hospitalized COVID-19 patients to determine the effects of taking the blood pressure-lowering prescriptions angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) and/or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
The study team found that patients taking the medications were more likely to die than those who were not taking them.
For the single-center, retrospective study, researchers studied 172 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 between March and May 2020. They found 33% of patients taking one or both of the anti-hypertensive medications (ACE-i, ARBs) died in the hospital, versus 13% of those not taking either of the medications. Admission to the intensive care unit was also higher at 28% among those on the medications versus 13% of patients not taking ACE-i and/or ARB medications.
The researchers noted in the abstract that the higher risk of death among patients taking the antihypertensive medications could be because individuals prescribed those medications tend to be older and are more likely to have diabetes mellitus and hypertension,
The research authors are Baher Al-Abbasi, M.D.; Nakeya Dewaswala, M.D.; Fergie Ramos, M.D.; Ahmed Abdallah, M.D.; Pedro Torres, M.D.; Kai Chen, M.D.; Mohamed Abdul Qader, M.D.; Samar Aboulenain, M.D.; Karolina Dziadkowiec, M.D.; Jesus Pino, M.D.; and Robert D Chait, M.D.
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