Hypertension has been identified as a risk factor for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and associated adverse outcomes. This study examined the association between preinfection blood pressure (BP) control and COVID-19 outcomes using data from 460 general practices in England. Eligible patients were adults with hypertension who were tested or diagnosed with COVID-19. BP control was defined by the most recent BP reading within 24 months of the index date (January 1, 2020). BP was defined as controlled (<130/80 mm Hg), raised (130/80-139/89 mm Hg), stage 1 uncontrolled (140/90-159/99 mm Hg), or stage 2 uncontrolled (≥160/100 mm Hg). The primary outcome was death within 28 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. Secondary outcomes were COVID-19 diagnosis and COVID-19-related hospital admission. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the association between BP control and outcomes. Of the 45 418 patients (mean age, 67 years; 44.7% male) included, 11 950 (26.3%) had controlled BP. These patients were older, had more comorbidities, and had been diagnosed with hypertension for longer. A total of 4277 patients (9.4%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 and 877 died within 28 days. Individuals with stage 1 uncontrolled BP had lower odds of COVID-19 death (odds ratio, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.62-0.92]) compared with patients with well-controlled BP. There was no association between BP control and COVID-19 diagnosis or hospitalization. These findings suggest BP control may be associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes, possibly due to these patients having more advanced atherosclerosis and target organ damage. Such patients may need to consider adhering to stricter social distancing, to limit the impact of COVID-19 as future waves of the pandemic occur.
Keywords: COVID-19; blood pressure; electronic health records; mortality; pandemic.