Background: Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors could alter mortality from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but existing meta-analyses that combined crude and adjusted results may be confounded by the fact that comorbidities are more common in ARB/ACE inhibitor users. Methods: We searched PubMed/MEDLINE/Embase for cohort studies and meta-analyses reporting mortality by preexisting ARB/ACE inhibitor treatment in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Random effects meta-regression was used to compute pooled odds ratios for mortality adjusted for imbalance in age, sex, and prevalence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease between users and nonusers of ARBs/ACE inhibitors at the study level during data synthesis. Results: In 30 included studies of 17,281 patients, 22%, 68%, 25%, and 11% had cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease. ARB/ACE inhibitor use was associated with significantly lower mortality after controlling for potential confounding factors (odds ratio 0.77 [95% confidence interval: 0.62, 0.96]). In contrast, meta-analysis of ARB/ACE inhibitor use was not significantly associated with mortality when all studies were combined with no adjustment made for confounders (0.87 [95% confidence interval: 0.71, 1.08]). Conclusions: ARB/ACE inhibitor use was associated with decreased mortality in cohorts of COVID-19 patients after adjusting for age, sex, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Unadjusted meta-analyses may not be appropriate for determining whether ARBs/ACE inhibitors are associated with mortality from COVID-19 because of indication bias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine