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Medical Groups Say Heart Meds Don't Worsen COVID-19 Symptoms

Woman in hospital with breathing difficulties using a respiration mask

TUESDAY, March 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Two types of heart medications do not make coronavirus infection worse, three major U.S. medical groups say in a new joint statement meant to dispel misinformation about the use of the medications in people with COVID-19.

The American Heart Association (AHA), the Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommend continuation of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) medications for all patients already prescribed those drugs for heart failure, high blood pressure or heart disease.

People with heart disease are already at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, the groups noted.

Heart disease patients diagnosed with the coronavirus should "be fully evaluated before adding or removing any treatments, and any changes to their treatment should be based on the latest scientific evidence and shared decision-making with their physician and health care team," the experts said in an AHA news release.

"We understand the concern -- as it has become clear that people with cardiovascular disease are at much higher risk of serious complications, including death from COVID-19," said Dr. Robert Harrington, AHA president and chair of the department of medicine at Stanford University.

"However, we have reviewed the latest research -- the evidence does not confirm the need to discontinue ACE [inhibitors] or ARBs, and we strongly recommend all physicians to consider the individual needs of each patient before making any changes to … treatment regimens," Harrington added.

The joint statement was published March 17.

According to Dr. Richard Kovacs, president of the ACC, "The continued highest standard of care for cardiovascular disease patients diagnosed with COVID-19 is our top priority, but there are no experimental or clinical data demonstrating beneficial or adverse outcomes among COVID-19 patients using ACE [inhibitors] or ARB medications." Kovacs is professor of cardiology at Indiana University School of Medicine.

"We urge urgent, additional research that can guide us to optimal care for the millions of people worldwide with cardiovascular disease and who may contract COVID-19. These recommendations will be adjusted as needed to correspond with the latest research," Kovacs explained in the statement.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about COVID-19 for heart patients.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 17, 2020
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