June 5, 2020 - Chinese coronavirus patients with high blood pressure had twice the risk of dying as patients who didn’t have hypertension, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.
Researchers from Xijing Hospital in Xian, China, examined records of 2,877 coronavirus patients in the Wuhan area between February 5 and March 15. Almost 30% of those patients had a history of hypertension, or high blood pressure, the study said.
The study found that 4% of patients with high blood pressure died, but only 1% of other patients.
After adjustments for patient variables such as age and other medical conditions, the study concluded that “patients with hypertension had a two-fold increase in the relative risk of mortality as compared with patients without hypertension.”
“It is important that patients with high blood pressure realize that they are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19,” lead researcher Fei Li, a professor in the Department of Cardiology at Xijing Hospital, said in a statement. “They should take good care of themselves during this pandemic and they need more attention if they are infected with the coronavirus.”
Among patients with high blood pressure who weren’t taking their medication, 8% died compared to 3% who were taking their medication, the study said.
The study recommended people taking blood pressure medication continue to do so, unless their doctor tells them otherwise.
That finding was significant because researchers have worried the blood pressure drugs known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs might make people more vulnerable to COVID-19.
"We were quite surprised that these results did not support our initial hypothesis; in fact, the results were in the opposite direction, with a trend in favor of ACE inhibitors and ARBs,” Ling Tao, one of the research leaders, said in a statement. “We think this is exactly why practice based on clinical evidence is more vital than ever."
Scientists have said for months that underlying medical conditions increase a person’s chance