Association of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers with risk of COVID-19, inflammation level, severity, and death in patients with COVID-19: A rapid systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Cardiol. 2020 Aug 5;10.1002/clc.23421. doi: 10.1002/clc.23421. Online ahead of print.


An association among the use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) with the clinical outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is unclear. PubMed, EMBASE, MedRxiv, and BioRxiv were searched for relevant studies that assessed the association between application of ACEI/ARB and risk of COVID-19, inflammation level, severity COVID-19 infection, and death in patients with COVID-19. Eleven studies were included with 33 483 patients. ACEI/ARB therapy might be associated with the reduced inflammatory factor (interleukin-6) and elevated immune cells counts (CD3, CD8). Meta-analysis showed no significant increase in the risk of COVID-19 infection (odds ratio [OR]: 0.95, 95%CI: 0.89-1.05) in patients receiving ACEI/ARB therapy, and ACEI/ARB therapy was associated with a decreased risk of severe COVID-19 (OR: 0.75, 95%CI: 0.59-0.96) and mortality (OR: 0.52, 95%CI: 0.35-0.79). Subgroup analyses showed among the general population, ACEI/ARB therapy was associated with reduced severe COVID-19 infection (OR: 0.79, 95%CI: 0.60-1.05) and all-cause mortality (OR: 0.31, 95%CI: 0.13-0.75), and COVID-19 infection (OR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.66-1.08) were not increased. Among patients with hypertension, the use of an ACEI/ARB was associated with a lower severity of COVID-19 (OR: 0.73, 95%CI: 0.51-1.03) and lower mortality (OR: 0.57, 95%CI: 0.37-0.87), without evidence of an increased risk of COVID-19 infection (OR: 1.00). On the basis of the available evidence, ACEI/ARB therapy should be continued in patients who are at risk for, or have COVID-19, either in general population or hypertension patients. Our results need to be interpreted with caution considering the potential for residual confounders, and more well-designed studies that control the clinical confounders are necessary to confirm our findings.

Keywords: ACEI/ARB; COVID-19; SARS-COV-2; hypertension; infectious disease; lung; pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Review