As more research comes to light, we are starting to get a better understanding of the impact COVID-19 has on health, particularly on those with high blood pressure. A new study published in the European Heart Journal suggests that patients with raised blood pressure have a two-fold increased risk of dying from the coronavirus.
The research from China and Ireland looked at data from 2,866 patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to Huo Shen Shan hospital in Wuhan, China, between 5 February and 15 March 2020. Of these patients, 850 had a medical history of hypertension.
They found that 34 out of 850 patients with high blood pressure and coronavirus died compared to 22 out of 2027 patients who did not have hypertension. After adjusting for factors that could potentially affect the results, it was shown that those with high blood pressure had a 2.12-fold increased risk of dying from COVID-19.
Researchers also looked at whether medication to treat high blood pressure was a factor in the risk. They found that among the patients with hypertension who were not taking medication, 11 out of 140 died from coronavirus compared to 23 out of 719 of those who were taking medication. This showed a 2.17-fold increased risk of those who were not taking medication being at risk for dying from coronavirus.
More Attention Needed
Prof. Fei Li from Xijing Hospital said: “It is important that patients with high blood pressure realize that they are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19. They should take good care of themselves during this pandemic and they need more attention if they are infected with the coronavirus.
“Also, there were 140 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 who had discontinued their anti-hypertensive treatment due to various reasons. We found that this was associated with a greater risk of dying from the coronavirus.”
Researchers do caution that this study only looked at data from observations in the hospital, so it is too early to make clinical recommendations based on these results. This is just one of the studies looking at the impact that COVID-19 has on certain underlying health issues. Much more research is needed to understand the overall impact that coronavirus can have on the health of those who have pre-existing conditions.
“These data should be interpreted cautiously. However, they support recommendations for the European Society of Cardiology that patients should not discontinue or change their normal, antihypertensive treatment,” said Prof. Tao, who was involved in the study.