According to a new analysis 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.
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 have an effect on the severe COVID-19 sickness.
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."
Early in the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccinations assisted in reducing mortality as well as some of the worst side symptoms of the infection. An observational study in Israel found that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine further reduced the risks of severe illness by up to 70%. Nevertheless, some people who had received the full dose and the booster dose still needed to be hospitalised for COVID-19 during the first Omicron variant outbreak.
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 whole COVID-19 vaccine series and a booster dose, Ebinger and colleagues sought to investigate the features of those individuals who had COVID-19 cases severe enough to necessitate hospital care.
The data revealed that other older persons without other underlying medical issues are also at risk, according to Ebinger. 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 found to be 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 when they had 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.
On how to lower the risks of serious COVID-19 infection, whether, through more specialised vaccine regimens, novel treatments, or a combination strategy, researchers indicated additional research is necessary. The biological mechanism underlying the link between severe COVID-19 and high blood pressure is another area that researchers believe requires additional research.
The findings might not be generalizable because researchers used data from a single medical site for retrospective analysis.