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Association of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers with the Risk of Hospitalization and Death in Hypertensive Patients with Coronavirus Disease-19

By Rohan Khera, Callahan Clark, Yuan Lu, Yinglong Guo, Sheng Ren, Brandon Truax, Erica S. Spatz, Karthik Murugiah, Zhenqiu Lin, Saad B. Omer, Deneen Vojta, Harlan M Krumholz

Posted 19 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.17.20104943

Background: Whether angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) mitigate or exacerbate SARS-CoV-2 infection remains uncertain. In a national study, we evaluated the association of ACE inhibitors and ARB with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) hospitalization and mortality among individuals with hypertension. Methods: Among Medicare Advantage and commercially insured individuals, we identified 2,263 people with hypertension, receiving [≥]1 antihypertensive agents, and who had a positive outpatient SARS-CoV-2 test (outpatient cohort). In a propensity score-matched analysis, we determined the association of ACE inhibitors and ARBs with the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19. In a second study of 7,933 individuals with hypertension who were hospitalized with COVID-19 (inpatient cohort), we tested the association of these medications with in-hospital mortality. We stratified all our assessments by insurance groups. Results: Among individuals in the outpatient and inpatient cohorts, 31.9% and 29.8%, respectively, used ACE inhibitors and 32.3% and 28.1% used ARBs. In the outpatient study, over a median 30.0 (19.0 - 40.0) days after testing positive, 12.7% were hospitalized for COVID-19. In propensity score-matched analyses, neither ACE inhibitors (HR, 0.77 [0.53, 1.13], P = 0.18), nor ARBs (HR, 0.88 [0.61, 1.26], P = 0.48), were significantly associated with risk of hospitalization. In analyses stratified by insurance group, ACE inhibitors, but not ARBs, were associated with a significant lower risk of hospitalization in the Medicare group (HR, 0.61 [0.41, 0.93], P = 0.02), but not the commercially insured group (HR: 2.14 [0.82, 5.60], P = 0.12; P-interaction 0.09). In the inpatient study, 14.2% died, 59.5% survived to discharge, and 26.3% had an ongoing hospitalization. In propensity score-matched analyses, neither use of ACE inhibitor (0.97 [0.81, 1.16]; P = 0.74) nor ARB (1.15 [0.95, 1.38]; P = 0.15) was associated with risk of in-hospital mortality, in total or in the stratified analyses. Conclusions: The use of ACE inhibitors and ARBs was not associated with the risk of hospitalization or mortality among those infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, there was a nearly 40% lower risk of hospitalization with the use of ACE inhibitors in the Medicare population. This finding merits a clinical trial to evaluate the potential role of ACE inhibitors in reducing the risk of hospitalization among older individuals, who are at an elevated risk of adverse outcomes with the infection.

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