Results from the IRoc-GN international registry of patients with COVID-19 and glomerular disease suggest close monitoring.
Kidney international. 2021;(1):227-237
The effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on individuals with immune-mediated glomerulonephritis, who are often undergoing immunosuppressive treatments, are unknown. Therefore, we created the International Registry of COVID infection in glomerulonephritis (IRoc-GN) and identified 40 patients with glomerulonephritis and COVID-19 followed in centers in North America and Europe. Detailed information on glomerulonephritis diagnosis, kidney parameters, and baseline immunosuppression prior to infection were recorded, as well as clinical presentation, laboratory values, treatment, complications, and outcomes of COVID-19. This cohort was compared to 80 COVID-positive control cases from the general population without glomerulonephritis matched for the time of infection. The majority (70%) of the patients with glomerulonephritis and all the controls were hospitalized. Patients with glomerulonephritis had significantly higher mortality (15% vs. 5%, respectively) and acute kidney injury (39% vs. 14%) than controls, while the need for kidney replacement therapy was not statistically different between the two groups. Receiving immunosuppression or renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors at presentation did not increase the risk of death or acute kidney injury in the glomerulonephritis cohort. In the cohort with glomerulonephritis, lower serum albumin at presentation and shorter duration of glomerular disease were associated with greater risk of acute kidney injury and need for kidney replacement therapy. No differences in outcomes occurred between patients with primary glomerulonephritis versus glomerulonephritis associated with a systemic autoimmune disease (lupus or vasculitis). Thus, due to the higher mortality and risk of acute kidney injury than in the general population without glomerulonephritis, patients with glomerulonephritis and COVID-19 should be carefully monitored, especially when they present with low serum albumin levels.
Continuation versus discontinuation of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19: a prospective, randomised, open-label trial.
The Lancet. Respiratory medicine. 2021;(3):275-284
BACKGROUND Biological considerations suggest that renin-angiotensin system inhibitors might influence the severity of COVID-19. We aimed to evaluate whether continuing versus discontinuing renin-angiotensin system inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers) affects outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. METHODS The REPLACE COVID trial was a prospective, randomised, open-label trial done at 20 large referral hospitals in seven countries worldwide. Eligible participants were aged 18 years and older who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and were receiving a renin-angiotensin system inhibitor before admission. Individuals with contraindications to continuation or discontinuation of renin-angiotensin system inhibitor therapy were excluded. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to continuation or discontinuation of their renin-angiotensin system inhibitor using permuted block randomisation, with allocation concealed using a secure web-based randomisation system. The primary outcome was a global rank score in which participants were ranked across four hierarchical tiers incorporating time to death, duration of mechanical ventilation, time on renal replacement or vasopressor therapy, and multiorgan dysfunction during the hospitalisation. Primary analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. The REPLACE COVID trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04338009. FINDINGS Between March 31 and Aug 20, 2020, 152 participants were enrolled and randomly assigned to either continue or discontinue renin-angiotensin system inhibitor therapy (continuation group n=75; discontinuation group n=77). Mean age of participants was 62 years (SD 12), 68 (45%) were female, mean body-mass index was 33 kg/m2 (SD 8), and 79 (52%) had diabetes. Compared with discontinuation of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors, continuation had no effect on the global rank score (median rank 73 [IQR 40-110] for continuation vs 81 [38-117] for discontinuation; β-coefficient 8 [95% CI -13 to 29]). There were 16 (21%) of 75 participants in the continuation arm versus 14 (18%) of 77 in the discontinuation arm who required intensive care unit admission or invasive mechanical ventilation, and 11 (15%) of 75 participants in the continuation group versus ten (13%) of 77 in the discontinuation group died. 29 (39%) participants in the continuation group and 28 (36%) participants in the discontinuation group had at least one adverse event (χ2 test of adverse events between treatment groups p=0·77). There was no difference in blood pressure, serum potassium, or creatinine during follow-up across the two groups. INTERPRETATION Consistent with international society recommendations, renin-angiotensin system inhibitors can be safely continued in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. FUNDING REPLACE COVID Investigators, REPLACE COVID Trial Social Fundraising Campaign, and FastGrants.
Angiotensin II receptor blocker or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use and COVID-19-related outcomes among US Veterans.
PloS one. 2021;(4):e0248080
BACKGROUND Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) may positively or negatively impact outcomes in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We investigated the association of ARB or ACEI use with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related outcomes in US Veterans with treated hypertension using an active comparator design, appropriate covariate adjustment, and negative control analyses. METHODS AND FINDINGS In this retrospective cohort study of Veterans with treated hypertension in the Veterans Health Administration (01/19/2020-08/28/2020), we compared users of (A) ARB/ACEI vs. non-ARB/ACEI (excluding Veterans with compelling indications to reduce confounding by indication) and (B) ARB vs. ACEI among (1) SARS-CoV-2+ outpatients and (2) COVID-19 hospitalized inpatients. The primary outcome was all-cause hospitalization or mortality (outpatients) and all-cause mortality (inpatients). We estimated hazard ratios (HR) using propensity score-weighted Cox regression. Baseline characteristics were well-balanced between exposure groups after weighting. Among outpatients, there were 5.0 and 6.0 primary outcomes per 100 person-months for ARB/ACEI (n = 2,482) vs. non-ARB/ACEI (n = 2,487) users (HR 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73-0.99, median follow-up 87 days). Among outpatients who were ARB (n = 4,877) vs. ACEI (n = 8,704) users, there were 13.2 and 14.8 primary outcomes per 100 person-months (HR 0.91, 95%CI 0.86-0.97, median follow-up 85 days). Among inpatients who were ARB/ACEI (n = 210) vs. non-ARB/ACEI (n = 275) users, there were 3.4 and 2.0 all-cause deaths per 100 person months (HR 1.25, 95%CI 0.30-5.13, median follow-up 30 days). Among inpatients, ARB (n = 1,164) and ACEI (n = 2,014) users had 21.0 vs. 17.7 all-cause deaths, per 100 person-months (HR 1.13, 95%CI 0.93-1.38, median follow-up 30 days). CONCLUSIONS This observational analysis supports continued ARB or ACEI use for patients already using these medications before SARS-CoV-2 infection. The novel beneficial association observed among outpatients between users of ARBs vs. ACEIs on hospitalization or mortality should be confirmed with randomized trials.
Lack of association of antihypertensive drugs with the risk and severity of COVID-19: A meta-analysis.
Journal of cardiology. 2021;(5):482-491
BACKGROUND The association of antihypertensive drugs with the risk and severity of COVID-19 remains unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS We systematically searched PubMed, MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), ClinicalTrials.gov, and medRxiv for publications before July 13, 2020. Cohort studies and case-control studies that contain information on the association of antihypertensive agents including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium-channel blockers (CCBs), β-blockers, and diuretics with the risk and severity of COVID-19 were selected. The random or fixed-effects models were used to pool the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for the outcomes. The literature search yielded 53 studies that satisfied our inclusion criteria, which comprised 39 cohort studies and 14 case-control studies. These studies included a total of 2,100,587 participants. We observed no association between prior usage of antihypertensive medications including ACEIs/ARBs, CCBs, β-blockers, or diuretics and the risk and severity of COVID-19. Additionally, when only hypertensive patients were included, the severity and mortality were lower with prior usage of ACEIs/ARBs (overall OR of 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-0.99, p < 0.05 and overall OR of 0.77, 95% CI 0.66-0.91, p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS Taken together, usage of antihypertensive drugs is not associated with the risk and severity of COVID-19. Based on the current available literature, it is not recommended to abstain from the usage of these drugs in COVID-19 patients. REGISTRATION The meta-analysis was registered on OSF (https://osf.io/ynd5g).
Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Hypertension: The Role of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 and the Renin-Angiotensin System.
Advances in chronic kidney disease. 2020;(5):404-411
Hypertension emerged from early reports as a potential risk factor for worse outcomes for persons with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Among the putative links between hypertension and COVID-19 is a key counter-regulatory component of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS): angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 facilitates entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, into host cells. Because RAS inhibitors have been suggested to increase ACE2 expression, health-care providers and patients have grappled with the decision of whether to discontinue these medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, experimental models of analogous viral pneumonias suggest RAS inhibitors may exert protective effects against acute lung injury. We review how RAS and ACE2 biology may affect outcomes in COVID-19 through pulmonary and other systemic effects. In addition, we briefly detail the data for and against continuation of RAS inhibitors in persons with COVID-19 and summarize the current consensus recommendations from select specialty organizations.
A brief review of interplay between vitamin D and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2: Implications for a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Reviews in medical virology. 2020;(5):e2119
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly expanding and causing many deaths all over the world with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a pandemic in March 2020. Current therapeutic options are limited and there is no registered and/or definite treatment or vaccine for this disease or the causative infection, severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a part of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), serves as the major entry point into cells for SARS-CoV-2 which attaches to human ACE2, thereby reducing the expression of ACE2 and causing lung injury and pneumonia. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble-vitamin, is a negative endocrine RAS modulator and inhibits renin expression and generation. It can induce ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/MasR axis activity and inhibits renin and the ACE/Ang II/AT1R axis, thereby increasing expression and concentration of ACE2, MasR and Ang-(1-7) and having a potential protective role against acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Therefore, targeting the unbalanced RAS and ACE2 down-regulation with vitamin D in SARS-CoV-2 infection is a potential therapeutic approach to combat COVID-19 and induced ARDS.
Diabetes and COVID-19: evidence, current status and unanswered research questions.
European journal of clinical nutrition. 2020;(6):864-870
Patients with diabetes who get coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are at risk of a severe disease course and mortality. Several factors especially the impaired immune response, heightened inflammatory response and hypercoagulable state contribute to the increased disease severity. However, there are many contentious issues about which the evidence is rather limited. There are some theoretical concerns about the effects of different anti-hyperglycaemic drugs. Similarly, despite the recognition of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2), and the role of ACE2 in lung injury; there are conflicting results with the use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) in these patients. Management of patients with diabetes in times of restrictions on mobility poses some challenges and novel approaches like telemedicine can be useful. There is a need to further study the natural course of COVID-19 in patients with diabetes and to understand the individual, regional and ethnic variations in disease prevalence and course.
COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system: implications for risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Cardiovascular research. 2020;(10):1666-1687
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, caused by SARS-CoV-2, represents the greatest medical challenge in decades. We provide a comprehensive review of the clinical course of COVID-19, its comorbidities, and mechanistic considerations for future therapies. While COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, causing interstitial pneumonitis and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), it also affects multiple organs, particularly the cardiovascular system. Risk of severe infection and mortality increase with advancing age and male sex. Mortality is increased by comorbidities: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, and cancer. The most common complications include arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and ventricular fibrillation), cardiac injury [elevated highly sensitive troponin I (hs-cTnI) and creatine kinase (CK) levels], fulminant myocarditis, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Mechanistically, SARS-CoV-2, following proteolytic cleavage of its S protein by a serine protease, binds to the transmembrane angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) -a homologue of ACE-to enter type 2 pneumocytes, macrophages, perivascular pericytes, and cardiomyocytes. This may lead to myocardial dysfunction and damage, endothelial dysfunction, microvascular dysfunction, plaque instability, and myocardial infarction (MI). While ACE2 is essential for viral invasion, there is no evidence that ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) worsen prognosis. Hence, patients should not discontinue their use. Moreover, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors might be beneficial in COVID-19. Initial immune and inflammatory responses induce a severe cytokine storm [interleukin (IL)-6, IL-7, IL-22, IL-17, etc.] during the rapid progression phase of COVID-19. Early evaluation and continued monitoring of cardiac damage (cTnI and NT-proBNP) and coagulation (D-dimer) after hospitalization may identify patients with cardiac injury and predict COVID-19 complications. Preventive measures (social distancing and social isolation) also increase cardiovascular risk. Cardiovascular considerations of therapies currently used, including remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab, ribavirin, interferons, and lopinavir/ritonavir, as well as experimental therapies, such as human recombinant ACE2 (rhACE2), are discussed.