What role does hypertension play in COVID-19?
High blood pressure increases the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. For infections with the Omicron variant, the risk was more than doubled.
A new study involving experts from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has examined why some people develop severe Omicron COVID-19 variant despite full vaccination, including a booster shot. The results were published in the journal Hypertension.
The study had 912 participants
In their retrospective cohort study, the researchers looked at 912 adult participants. They had received at least three doses of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).
In addition, demographic information (eg, age and ethnicity) and clinical data from electronic health records were also assessed.
In this way, the experts were able to identify key variables and clinical characteristics, such as the presence of chronic health conditions, for example in the form of type 2 diabetes or kidney disease.
Fewer side effects thanks to the vaccination booster
COVID-19 vaccines helped reduce deaths and some of the most serious side effects of infection in the early stages of the pandemic. According to one study, a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine reduced the risk of serious illness by up to 70%, the team reports.
Despite this, there were times when some of the fully vaccinated subjects with boosters required hospitalization with COVID-19 during a first wave of the Omicron variant.
Researchers were now trying to find out what characteristics people had who, despite the full series of COVID-19 vaccinations and a booster dose, had developed COVID-19 illnesses so severe that they needed treatment in a hospital.
Role of Omicron subvariants
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Omicron variant remains the predominant variant in the United States. As of July 2022, a total of seven Omicron subvariants have been identified. In the study, the experts did not distinguish which omicron subvariants were present in the participants.
Increased risk despite absence of chronic diseases
The influence of high blood pressure on the course of COVID-19 has been shown to persist even in the absence of other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease or heart failure, report Researchers.
“Omicron infection severe enough to require hospitalization can occur in adults of any age, especially those with high blood pressure, even if they do not have other serious chronic conditions,” the report said. author of the study, Dr. Joseph E. Ebinger in a press release.
The data clearly shows that older adults with other underlying conditions are not the only ones susceptible to it. This clearly shows that the people most at risk are not who you think they are, adds the doctor
In the study, nearly 16% of the 912 participants who received three doses of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine required hospitalization.
Risk factors for necessary hospitalization
Older age, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, previous heart attack, heart failure, and time between last vaccination and illness were found to be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization.
2.6 times higher risk of high blood pressure
If participants had high blood pressure, this increased the risk of being hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness by a factor of 2.6. This applied even if the person concerned did not suffer from any other serious illness.
Of the 145 participants who required hospitalization, 125 (86.2%) suffered from high blood pressure, the experts report.
“We need to raise awareness and understanding that three doses of a vaccine will not prevent everyone from developing severe COVID-19, especially those with hypertension,” Dr. Ebinger said.
According to the expert, further research is now needed to improve our understanding of why there is this link between high blood pressure and an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Joseph Ebinger, Matthew Driver, Sandy Young, Teresa Tran, Denisse Barajas, et al. : Hypertension and Excess Risk of Serious Illness from COVID-19 Despite Booster Vaccination; in: Hypertension (published July 20, 2022), HypertensionAmerican Heart Association: High blood pressure may double the risk of severe COVID, even after full vaccination (published July 20, 2022), AHARobert Koch Institute: Hypertonia (accessed July 21, 2022) , RKI
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.