Angiotensin II receptor blocker intake associates with reduced markers of inflammatory activation and decreased mortality in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and COVID-19 disease

  • AIMS: Patients with cardiovascular comorbidities have a significantly increased risk for a critical course of COVID-19. As the SARS-CoV2 virus enters cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor II (ACE2), drugs which interact with the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) were suspected to influence disease severity.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: We analyzed 1946 consecutive patients with cardiovascular comorbidities or hypertension enrolled in one of the largest European COVID-19 registries, the Lean European Open Survey on SARS-CoV-2 (LEOSS) registry. Here, we show that angiotensin II receptor blocker intake is associated with decreased mortality in patients with COVID-19 [OR 0.75 (95% CI 0,59-0.96; p = 0.013)]. This effect was mainly driven by patients, who presented in an early phase of COVID-19 at baseline [OR 0,64 (95% CI 0,43-0,96; p = 0.029)]. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significantly lower incidence of death in patients on an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) (n = 33/318;10,4%) compared to patients using an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi) (n = 60/348;17,2%) or patients who received neither an ACE-inhibitor nor an ARB at baseline in the uncomplicated phase (n = 90/466; 19,3%; p<0.034). Patients taking an ARB were significantly less frequently reaching the mortality predicting threshold for leukocytes (p<0.001), neutrophils (p = 0.002) and the inflammatory markers CRP (p = 0.021), procalcitonin (p = 0.001) and IL-6 (p = 0.049). ACE2 expression levels in human lung samples were not altered in patients taking RAAS modulators.

    CONCLUSION: These data suggest a beneficial effect of ARBs on disease severity in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and COVID-19, which is linked to dampened systemic inflammatory activity.

  • info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
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