(HealthDay News) — Current angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) use is associated with a slightly lower mortality risk in patients hospitalized with influenza or pneumonia, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Christian Fynbo Christiansen, MD, PhD, from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues examined the impact of ACE-Is/ARBs on respiratory tract infection outcomes among all adult patients hospitalized with influenza or pneumonia from 2005 to 2018 in Denmark.

The researchers reported that of 568,019 patients hospitalized with influenza or pneumonia, 100,278 were ACE-I/ARB users and 37,961 were users of calcium channel blockers. ACE-I/ARB users had marginally lower 30-day mortality than users of calcium channel blockers (13.9 vs 14.5%; relative risk, 0.96) and had a lower risk for admission to the intensive care unit (8.0 vs 9.6%; relative risk, 0.83) in propensity score-weighted analyses. Current ACE-I/ARB users had lower mortality (relative risk, 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 0.87) but similar risk for admission to the intensive care unit (relative risk, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.09) compared with nonusers.

“We haven’t examined whether what applies to patients with influenza and pneumonia can be transferred directly to patients with COVID-19, but there is some evidence to suggest that ACE inhibitors have a protective effect against lung damage which we don’t see in patients who take other types of medicine to lower blood pressure,” Christiansen said in a statement.

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Fynbo CC, Heide‐Jørgensen U, Bøjer Rasmussen T, et al. Renin-angiotensin system blockers and adverse outcomes of influenza and pneumonia: a Danish cohort study. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.120.017297