Objectives: Recent evidence has shown no harm associated with the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We sought to further clarify the possible association between ACEI/ARB use and the risk of poor clinical outcomes of COVID-19.
Methods: From the completely enumerated COVID-19 cohort in Korea, we identified 1,290 patients with hypertension, of whom 682 had and 603 did not have records of ACEI/ARB use during the 30-day period before their COVID-19 diagnosis. Our primary endpoint comprised clinical outcomes, including all-cause mortality, use of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit admission, and sepsis. We used inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) to mitigate selection bias, and a Poisson regression model to estimate the relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for comparing outcomes between ACEI/ARB users and non-users.
Results: Compared to non-use, ACEI/ARB use was associated with lower clinical outcomes (IPTW-adjusted RR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.85; p=0.005). For individual outcomes, ACEI/ARB use was not associated with all-cause mortality (IPTW-adjusted RR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.35 to 1.09; p=0.097) or respiratory events (IPTW-adjusted RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.17; p=0.904). Subgroup analysis showed a trend toward a protective role of ACEIs and ARBs against overall outcomes in men (IPTW-adjusted RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.03; pinteraction=0.008) and patients with pre-existing respiratory disease (IPTW-adjusted RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.92; pinteraction=0.002).
Conclusions: We present clinical evidence to support continuing ACE/ARB use in COVID-19 patients with hypertension based on the completely enumerated Korean cohort.
Keywords: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; Angiotensin-receptor blockers; COVID-19; Hypertension.