Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Hypertension: The Role of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 and the Renin-Angiotensin System.
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.
Edmonston, DL; South, AM; Sparks, MA; Cohen, JB
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