Blood pressure medication improves Covid-19 survival rates

Published by  Communications

On 24th Aug 2020

Manometer to measure blood pressure, stethoscope and blood pressure tablets

Medication for high blood pressure could improve Covid-19 survival rates and reduce the severity of infection - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Researchers studied 28,000 patients taking antihypertensives - a class of drugs that are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).

They found that the risk of severe Covid-19 illness and death was reduced for patients with high blood pressure who were taking Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB).

Lead researcher Dr Vassilios Vassiliou, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We know that patients with cardiovascular diseases are at particular risk of severe Covid-19 infection. But at the start of the pandemic, there was concern that specific medications for high blood pressure could be linked with worse outcomes for Covid-19 patients.

“We wanted to find out what the impact of these medications is for people with Covid-19.

“We therefore studied the outcomes for patients taking antihypertensives – looking particularly at what we call ‘critical’ outcomes such as being admitted to intensive care or being put on a ventilator, and death.”

The research was led by UEA in collaboration with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The team analysed data from 19 studies related to Covid-19 and ACEi and ARB medications. The meta-analysis involved more than 28,000 patients and is the largest and most detailed such study to date.

They compared data from Covid-19 patients who were taking ACEi or ARB medications with those who were not – focusing on whether they experienced ‘critical’ events (admission to intensive care and invasive or non-invasive ventilation) and death.

Dr Vassiliou said: “We found that a third of Covid-19 patients with high blood pressure and a quarter of patients overall were taking an ACEi/ARBs. This is likely due to the increasing risk of infection in patients with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes.

“But the really important thing that we showed was that there is no evidence that these medications might increase the severity of Covid-19 or risk of death.

“On the contrary, we found that there was a significantly lower risk of death and critical outcomes, so they might in fact have a protective role - particularly in patients with hypertension.

“Covid-19 patients with high blood pressure who were taking ACEi/ARB medications were 0.67 times less likely to have a critical or fatal outcome than those not taking these medications.

“As the world braces itself for a potential second wave of the infection, it is particularly important that we understand the impact that these medications have in Covid-19 patients.

“Our research provides substantial evidence to recommend continued use of these medications if the patients were taking them already.

“However, we are not able to address whether starting such tablets acutely in patients with Covid-19 might improve their prognosis, as the mechanism of action might be different,” he added.

Effect of Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System inhibitors in patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28,872 patients’ is published in the journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports on August 24, 2020.

Latest News

  News
Subtropical Atlantic Forest, Southern Brazil
15 Sep 2020

Study reveals impact of centuries of human activity in American tropics

The devastating effects of human activity on wildlife in the American tropics over the last 500 years are revealed in a new study published today.

Read more >
  News
Soldiers in a savannah
14 Sep 2020

Study examines how civil wars affect wildlife populations

A new study comprehensively reveals how civil wars impact wildlife in countries affected by conflict.

Read more >
  News
Union Jack and EU flag on cracked wall background

Amending Brexit deal will increase frictions within UK and beyond

The government’s decision to scrap part of its Brexit deal will increase frictions with the EU, as well as threatening the fragile political equilibrium in...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
testing for coronavirus in a lab
07 Sep 2020

Testing Initiative at UEA

UEA intends to offer coronavirus testing to all students and staff working on campus at the start of term.

Read more >
  News
04 Sep 2020

UEA lecturer makes Newton Prize shortlist

A University of East Anglia (UEA) Honorary Senior Lecturer, Sue Down, is part of a team that has been shortlisted for the 2020 Newton Prize. 

Read more >
  News
Researcher with gloved hand holding vial containing HIV blood sample, with more samples in the background
27 Aug 2020

The patients left behind by HIV research

People with HIV from BAME communities, women and heterosexual men are underrepresented in HIV studies – according to new research from UEA and Western Sydney...

Read more >
  News
Man viewing online healthcare app on smartphone screen
03 Sep 2020

New app to forecast life expectancy

Read more >
  News
Elderly woman's hands sorting pills into a pill organiser
02 Sep 2020

Stopping ‘risky’ medicines for older people in hospital

Read more >
  News
Foods containing vitamin C
27 Aug 2020

How Vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass

Vitamin C could be the key to better muscles in later life – according to new research from UEA.

Read more >