COVID 19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a newly discovered coronavirus, has caused the global pandemic of early 2020. The first case was described in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and by March 2020, most countries around the world have put in place some of the strictest restrictions seen in decades in order to slow down the spread of the disease. Patients with pre-existing hypertension and cardiovascular comorbidities were reported to be at an increased risk of serious infections caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Considering that those are among the most common chronic medical conditions in the Western world, the potential impact of it is huge. The proposed mechanism behind those associations is the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE II) in those patients. Furthermore, the association between ACE inhibitors/AR blockers, which are among the most frequently prescribed medications, and serious cases of COVID 19 has been studied with the same mechanism in mind.
The reports on the association between hypertension and COVID 19 morbidity and mortality are less clear, and the International Society of Hypertension even claims that there is none. The reports on the association between heart failure or coronary disease and COVID 19 are more uniform, and all seem to point to a greater risk from serious infections faced by patients with those comorbidities. A significant effort will need to be invested by the scientific community into finding strategies for protecting those patients from contracting the virus in the first place and then, once infected, into developing management plans aimed at preserving cardiac function as much as possible.