Cappuccio FP and Siani A. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2020.
The presence of cardiovascular co-morbidities and the known effects of coronaviruses on the cardiovascular system have called attention to the potential implications for patients with cardiovascular risk factors. This evidence-based viewpoint will address two questions: (a) are individuals with underlying cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. high blood pressure or diabetes) or overt disease (e.g. coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease) more likely to develop severe Covid-19 and to die than those without underlying conditions? (b) does the regular use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARB) make patients more likely to get infected and to die of Covid-19? With a necessary cautionary note that the evidence around the links between Covid-19 and cardiovascular disease is accruing at a fast pace, to date we can conclude that: (a) the greater susceptibility of individuals with underlying cardiovascular conditions to develop more severe Covid-19 with higher mortality rate is likely to be confounded, in part, by age and the type of co-morbidities. Patients with heart failure or chronic kidney disease might show an excess risk; (b) neither ACE-i nor ARB are associated with greater risk of SARS-Cov2 infection, or severity or risk of death in patients with Covid-19. Patients on these drugs should not stop them, unless under strict medical supervision and with the addition of a suitable replacement medicine.