(HealthDay News) — COVID-19 patients with hypertension have increased mortality risk, with significantly higher risk among those without antihypertensive treatment, according to a study published online in the European Heart Journal.

Chao Gao, from Xijing Hospital in Xi’an, China, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of patients with COVID-19 admitted to Huo Shen Shan Hospital in Wuhan, China, to examine whether hypertension treatment influences mortality.

The researchers found that 29.5% of the 2877 hospitalized patients had a history of hypertension. Patients with hypertension had a significantly increased relative risk for mortality compared with those without hypertension after adjustment for confounders (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17 to 3.82; P=0.013). A significantly higher risk for mortality was seen among patients with a history of hypertension but without antihypertensive treatment compared with those with antihypertensive treatments (HR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.03 to 4.57; P=0.041). Mortality rates were similar for those receiving a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitor and non-RAAS inhibitor (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.28 to 2.58; P=0.774). In a meta-analysis of four studies, patients with RAAS inhibitor use tended to have a reduced mortality risk (relative risk, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.94; P=0.02).

“Due to the observational nature of the study, the results should be interpreted cautiously and considered as no obvious additional risk to continue RAAS inhibitors in patients with COVID-19 infection,” the authors write.

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Gao C, Cai Y, Zhang K, et al. Association of hypertension and antihypertensive treatment with COVID-19 mortality: a retrospective observational study. Eur Heart J. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa433

Ruilope LM, Tamargo J, Ruiz-Hurtado G, et al. Renin–angiotensin system inhibitors in the COVID-19 pandemic: consequences of antihypertensive drugs. Eur Heart J. 41(22); 2067–2069. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa487