COVID-19 in Patients with Hypertension

Link to article at PubMed

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021;1318:243-261. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-63761-3_15.


Hypertension has been listed in several case series and retrospective cohorts as a potential risk factor for the incidence and severity of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-associated disease (COVID-19). The debate is noteworthy because almost one billion people around the globe are estimated to have hypertensive diseases, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. Considering the SARS-CoV-2's high infectivity rates, a possible interaction between COVID-19 and hypertension is worrisome. Additionally, antihypertensive drugs, especially the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, could also influence the natural course of COVID-19 infection. Not only can these associations hold from an epidemiologic standpoint, a mechanistic scenario possibly exists. Hypertension and antihypertensive drugs can increase the expression of transmembrane angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2 receptors, the entry target of the viruses, thus facilitating infectivity. On the other hand, an increase in ACE-2 could be protective considering the anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic effects of the ACE-2-angiotensin 1-7/Mas pathway. So far, little is known about the whole picture. Observational studies appear to indicate at least a twofold increased risk of mortality for hypertensive patients with COVID-19; however, the previous and continued use of RAAS inhibitors may be protective in this subgroup of patients. The scarcity of randomized clinical trials precludes evidence-based decision-making. At least one randomized study in a non-specified sub-analysis demonstrated no relationship between an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and incidence or severity of the disease. It is reflected mainly by observational studies and, therefore, by international cardiology societies' guidelines, which state that antihypertensive drugs, particularly RAAS inhibitors, should not be discontinued unless necessary on a case-by-case basis.

PMID:33973183 | DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-63761-3_15

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