Cessation of Renin-Angiotensin System Antagonists During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic – Do We Have the Evidence?


DOI: 10.2478/jim-2020-0022

ABSTRACT

The aim of this review is to provide a short update on whether treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) has beneficial or harmful effects in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Epidemiological studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 infects all age groups, presenting a higher incidence in elderly patients with various comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. A large proportion of these patients are treated with ACEIs and ARBs. Since it has been demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) as an entry point into host cells, it is important to know whether ACEIs and ARBs could modify the expression of this enzyme, and thus promote the viral infection. Animal studies and a few studies in humans have shown that renin angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors increase tissue expression of ACE2, but with potentially beneficial effects. In this context, it is imperative to provide appropriate guidance for clinicians and patients. The major cardiology associations across the world have released statements in which they recommend healthcare providers and patients to continue their treatments for hypertension and heart failure as prescribed.