Background: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, has spread worldwide and poses a great threat to human health. Among COVID-19 patients, those with hypertension have been reported to have higher morbidity and mortality. This study was conducted to provide the international community with a deeper understanding of COVID-19 with hypertension.
Methods: A total of 188 COVID-19 patients were studied from January to March 2020. The epidemiology, clinical features, and laboratory data of hypertensive patients with COVID-19 were collected, retrospectively analyzed, and compared with a normotensive group. The use of anti-hypertensive drugs, general treatment, and clinical outcomes of hypertensive patients were also analyzed.
Results: The median ages in hypertensive patients with mild and severe COVID-19 were both significantly greater than the median age in the normotensive group. But there was no significant gender difference between the hypertensive and normotensive groups. All patients had lived in the Wuhan area. Common symptoms of all of the patients included fever, cough, and fatigue. Chest CT scans showed bilateral patchy shadows or ground glass opacity in the lungs of all of the patients. All (98 [100%]) of the hypertensive patients received antiviral therapy (Arbidol was used alone or in combination with Ribavirin), antibiotic therapy (85 [86.7%]), and corticosteroids (31 [31.6%]). It has been suggested that the combination of Arbidol and Ribavirin as initial therapy for hypertensive patients with COVID-19 is effective and safe. There were no significant differences in laboratory data between the mild cases in the hypertensive and the normotensive groups. In the severe cases, the hypertensive patients had higher plasma levels of D-dimer, C-reactive protein (CRP), and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the hypertensive patients who were treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEI/ARB) had no statistically significant differences between the mild and severe groups (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: In this study, we demonstrated that the hypertensive patients who were treated with ACEI/ARB did not have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. Arbidol and Ribavirin played an important role in the treatment of the viral pneumonia. Hypertensive patients with severe viral pneumonia had stronger inflammatory responses than non-hypertensive patients.