Therapy with RAS inhibitors during the COVID-19 pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2021 May 1;22(5):329-334. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0000000000001160.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. The global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 28,285,700 with mortality that appears higher than for seasonal influenza. About 20% of COVID-19 patients have experienced cardiac involvement and myocardial infarction in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 had a worse prognosis. Furthermore, the widespread use of antiviral drugs can be linked to a worsening of heart function. Arrhythmias and hypertension have also been reported in patients with Covid-19. On the other hand, previous cardiac diseases are present in 30% of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. There is uncertainty in the use of ace inhibitors and angiotensin II (Ang II) antagonists in the COVID-19 era. The mechanism of action of SARS-CoV-2 has been elucidated. It has been demonstrated that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the cellular receptor for the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and it is required for host cell entry and subsequent viral replication. The effect of the SARS-CoV-2 infection is the downregulation of ACE2 that may contribute to the severity of lung pathologies as well as the cardiac function. ACE2, a homolog of ACE, is a monocarboxypeptidase that converts Ang II into angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7) that with its vasodilatory, antifibrotic, antihypertrophic effects counterbalances the negative effects of Ang II. On the other hand, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and AT1R blockers have been shown to upregulate the expression of ACE2. Based on the mechanism of action of SARS-CoV-2, the use of renin angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors was questioned although all scientific societies did not recommend discontinuation when clinically recommended. The BRACE CORONA, a phase 4, randomized study tested two strategies: temporarily stopping the ACE inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) for 30 days versus continuing ACE inhibitors/ARBs in patients who were taking these medications chronically and were hospitalized with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 was also discussed. Therefore, the goal of this review is to summarize recent laboratory and clinical investigations concerning the use of ACEi and ARBs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The available data, based also on a randomized trial, suggest that ACEIs or ARBs, when clinically indicated, should be regularly used in the COVID-19 era.

PMID:33795584 | DOI:10.2459/JCM.0000000000001160

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