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The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the American Heart Association (AHA), the Heart Failure Society of American (HFSA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) have issued official statements clarifying that ACE-i and ARBs have not been found to increase COVID-19 mortality rates.
Physicians are recommending coronavirus patients to continue to take prescribed angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) and angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) medications used to treat hypertension.
Based off initial patient reports, patients with arterial hypertension were associated with increased mortality rates among hospitalized patients in China. From what we understand about COVID-19 so far, the coronavirus infects other cells by attacking angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors on the surfaces of cells. A report published early March in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine linked these findings and theorized that due to the way the coronavirus infects the body, those taking ACE-i or ARB medications to treat hypertension are at higher risk for a more severe COVID-19 infection. The report stated only a theory; there is currently no clinical or actual scientific evidence which suggests that ACE-i or ARBs.
Despite this, the European Society of Cardiology has said that because of the social media-related amplification, patients taking these drugs for their high blood pressure and their doctors have become increasingly concerned, and, in some cases, have stopped taking their ACE-I or ARB medications. According the ESC’s official statement released March 13, “This speculation about the safety of ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blockers treatment in relation to COVID-19 does not have a sound scientific basis or evidence to support it. Indeed, there is evidence from studies in animals suggesting that these medications might be rather protective against serious lung complications in patients with COVID-19 infection, but to date there are no data in humans. ”
In a joint statement made by the AHA, the HFSA and the ACC on March 17, the president of the AHA, Robert Harrington said, “We understand the concern – as it has become clear that people with cardiovascular disease are at much higher risk of serious complications including death from COVID-19. However, we have reviewed the latest research – the evidence does not confirm the need to discontinue ACE-i or ARBs, and we strongly recommend all physicians to consider the individual needs of each patient before making any changes to ACE-i or ARB treatment regimens.”
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