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Background There has been significant controversy regarding the effects of pre-hospitalization use of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors on the prognosis of hypertensive COVID-19 patients. Methods and Results We retrospectively assessed 2,297 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, from January 10th to March 30th, 2020; and identified 1,182 patients with known hypertension on pre-hospitalization therapy. We compared the baseline characteristics and in-hospital mortality between hypertensive patients taking RAS inhibitors (N=355) versus non-RAS inhibitors (N=827). Of the 1,182 hypertensive patients (median age 68 years, 49.1% male), 12/355 (3.4%) patients died in the RAS inhibitors group vs. 95/827 (11.5%) patients in the non-RAS inhibitors group (p<0.0001). Adjusted hazard ratio for mortality was 0.28 (95% CI 0.15-0.52, p<0.0001) at 45 days in the RAS inhibitors group compared with non-RAS inhibitors group. Similar findings were observed when patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers (N=289) or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (N=66) were separately compared with non-RAS inhibitors group. The RAS inhibitors group compared with non-RAS inhibitors group had lower levels of C-reactive protein (median 13.5 vs. 24.4 pg/mL; p=0.007) and interleukin-6 (median 6.0 vs. 8.5 pg/mL; p=0.026) on admission. The protective effect of RAS inhibitors on mortality was confirmed in a meta-analysis of published data when our data were added to previous studies (odd ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.29-0.65, p<0.0001). Conclusions In a large single center retrospective analysis we observed a protective effect of pre-hospitalization use of RAS inhibitors on mortality in hypertensive COVID-19 patients; which might be associated with reduced inflammatory response.
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