J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Feb 24:e018086. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.018086. Online ahead of print.
Background Despite its clinical significance, the risk of severe infection requiring hospitalization among outpatients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who receive angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) remains uncertain. Methods and Results In a propensity score-matched outpatient cohort (January - May 2020) of 2,263 Medicare Advantage and commercially insured individuals with hypertension and a positive outpatient SARS-CoV-2 test, we determined the association of ACE inhibitors and ARBs with COVID-19 hospitalization. In a concurrent inpatient cohort of 7,933 hospitalized with COVID-19, we tested their association with in-hospital mortality. The robustness of the observations was assessed in a contemporary cohort (May - August). In the outpatient study, neither ACE inhibitors (HR, 0.77, 0.53-1.13, P=0.18), nor ARBs (HR, 0.88, 0.61-1.26, P=0.48), were associated with hospitalization risk. ACE inhibitors were associated with lower hospitalization risk in the older Medicare group (HR, 0.61, 0.41-0.93, P=0.02), but not the younger commercially insured group (HR, 2.14, 0.82-5.60, P=0.12; P-interaction 0.09). Neither ACE inhibitors nor ARBs were associated with lower hospitalization risk in either population in the validation cohort. In the primary inpatient study cohort, neither ACE inhibitors (0.97, 0.81-1.16; P=0.74) nor ARBs (1.15, 0.95-1.38, P=0.15) were associated with in-hospital mortality. These observations were consistent in the validation cohort. Conclusions ACE inhibitors and ARBs were not associated with COVID-19 hospitalization or mortality. Despite early evidence for a potential association between ACE inhibitors and severe COVID-19 prevention in older individuals, the inconsistency of this observation in recent data argues against a role for prophylaxis.