Coronavirus patients with high blood pressure twice as likely to die

Grant Boone
June 5, 2020

Jiao Zhao of the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen and his colleagues looked at blood types of 2,173 patients with COVID-19 in three hospitals in Wuhan, China.

Hospitals in the U.S. have reported that as many as 40 percent of their coronavirus patients are young people, in the 40s, 50s, even 20s and 30s.

Patients with high blood pressure admitted to hospital with coronavirus infections are twice as likely to die as those without the condition, researchers said on Friday.

People who had Type A blood were 50 percent more likely to be so sick they needed oxygen support or even to be put on a ventilator.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. However, their findings show a 2.17-fold increased risk after adjusting for factors that could affect results, such as the age, sex and other medical conditions of the patients. As these patient numbers are quite low, the researchers said this finding should be treated with caution. After some adjustment for differences between patients, that resulted in a double risk of death for patients with high blood pressure.

"They should take good care of themselves during this pandemic and they need more attention if they are infected with the coronavirus", Li added.

DNA may make people with Type A blood more vulnerable to coronavirus

"In addition, there were 140 patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 who had discontinued their anti-hypertensive treatment due to various reasons".

Contrary to their expectations, they found that a class of drugs known as RAAS inhibitors - which include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) - were not linked to higher COVID-19 mortality. "Therefore, we suggest that patients should not discontinue or change their usual antihypertensive treatment unless instructed by a physician".

Almost 30 percent - 850 patients - had a history of hypertension, another term for high blood pressure.

Researchers still don't know for sure what about this gene variant that leads to Type A blood would make someone more susceptible to coronavirus. "We think this is exactly why practice based on clinical evidence is more vital than ever". When Surgisphere, the company that provided the data for both studies, refused to transfer its dataset for independent review, several of the authors said they can no longer vouch for its veracity.

A randomised clinical trial testing the effects of blood pressure medication on Covid-19 patients is set to run at the National University of Ireland Galway as part of the next steps in the research.

All symptomatic (ILI symptoms) individuals with history of global travel in the last 14 days; all symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases; all symptomatic healthcare workers or frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of COVID 19; all patients of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) are to be tested, the order said. This hospital was opened on February 5 for the sole goal of treating COVID-19 patients.

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