High blood pressure may double the risk of severe Covid despite vaccination

Wednesday 27th July 2022 07:26 EDT

According to a new study of adults hospitalised with Covid-19 in Los Angeles between December 2021 and April 2022, high blood pressure more than doubled a person’s risk for hospitalisation from an Omicron-variant Covid-19 infection - even in the presence of full vaccination, including a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccines.

According to the study's lead author Joseph E. Ebinger, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of cardiology and the director of clinical analytics at the Smidt Heart Institute at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “These findings are important since approximately half of the adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.”

Even in the absence of other chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, or heart failure, high blood pressure, often known as hypertension, continued to affect the severe COVID-19 sickness.

The Omicron version, which is still the predominant type, was discovered for the first time in the United States in December 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seven Omicron subvariants have been found as of July 2022.

Even though the study group included participants who had received the COVID-19 vaccine series and a booster dose, Ebinger and colleagues sought to investigate the features of those individuals with COVID-19 cases severe enough to necessitate hospital care.

According to Ebinger, the data revealed that other older persons without other underlying medical issues are also at risk. Even if a person does not have any other significant chronic diseases, a breakthrough Omicron infection serious enough to require hospitalisation can affect an adult of any age, particularly if that person has high blood pressure. Not always who we assume they are are the folks who are most at risk. The discovery that they are not the sickest of the ill was unexpected.

During an Omicron surge, between December 2021 and April 2022, in the greater Los Angeles area, 912 adults who had received at least three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and were treated for COVID-19 underwent a retrospective cohort study. Age, gender, race, ethnicity, and clinical data from electronic health records were among the demographic details that were looked at. The existence of chronic medical illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack, heart failure, and past chronic pulmonary obstructive disease or asthma are examples of critical clinical traits and variables that researchers have uncovered.

According to the data, roughly 16% of the 912 people who received the three doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination needed to be hospitalised.

The risk of hospitalisation was increased by advanced age, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, heart attack, heart failure, and the interval between the last immunisation and COVID-19 infection.

Even with no other serious chronic health conditions, people with high blood pressure were 2.6 times more likely to need hospital care for a severe COVID-19 illness.

Of the 145 patients admitted to the hospital, 125 (86.2%) had high blood pressure.

“We need to increase knowledge and comprehension that obtaining three doses of vaccination might not completely protect people from developing severe COVID-19, particularly in those with high blood pressure. Additionally, more research is required to determine the reasons behind the association between high blood pressure and a heightened chance of developing COVID-19 disease,” according to Ebinger.

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