Cardiovascular drugs and COVID-19 clinical outcomes: a living systematic review and meta-analysis [article]

Innocent Gerald Asiimwe, Sudeep Pushpakom, Richard Turner, Ruwanthi Kolamunnage-Dona, Andrea Jorgensen, Munir Pirmohamed
2020 medRxiv   pre-print
OBJECTIVE To continually evaluate the rapidly evolving evidence base on the role of cardiovascular drugs in COVID-19 clinical outcomes (susceptibility to infection, hospitalization, hospitalization length, disease severity, and all-cause mortality). DESIGN Living systematic review and meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES Eligible publications identified from >500 databases indexed through 31st July 2020 and additional studies from reference lists, with planned continual surveillance for at least two
more » ... or at least two years. STUDY SELECTION Observational and interventional studies that report on the association between cardiovascular drugs and COVID-19 clinical outcomes. DATA EXTRACTION Single-reviewer extraction and quality evaluation (using ROBINS-I), with half the records independently extracted and evaluated by a second reviewer. RESULTS Of 23,427 titles screened, 175 studies were included in the quantitative synthesis. The most reported drug classes were angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) with ACEI/ARB exposure being associated with higher odds of testing positive for COVID-19 (pooled unadjusted OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.30). Among patients with COVID-19, unadjusted estimates showed that ACEI/ARB exposure was associated with being hospitalized (OR 2.25, 1.70 to 2.98) and having severe disease (OR 1.50, 1.27 to 1.77) but not with the length of hospitalization (mean difference -0.45, -1.33 to 0.43 days) or all-cause mortality (OR 1.25, CI 0.98 to 1.58). However, after adjustment, ACEI/ARB exposure was not associated with testing positive for COVID-19 (pooled adjusted OR 1.01, 0.93 to 1.10), being hospitalized (OR 1.16, 0.80 to 1.68), having severe disease (1.04, 0.76 to 1.42), or all-cause mortality (0.86, 0.64 to 1.15). Similarly, subgroup analyses involving only hypertensive patients revealed that ACEI/ARB exposure was not associated with being hospitalized (OR 0.84, 0.58 to 1.22), disease severity (OR 0.88, 0.68 to 1.14) or all-cause mortality (OR 0.77, 0.54 to 1.12) while it decreased the length of hospitalization (mean difference -0.71, -1.11 to -0.30 days). After adjusting for relevant covariates, other cardiovascular drug classes were mostly not found to be associated with poor COVID-19 clinical outcomes. However, the validity of these findings is limited by a high level of heterogeneity in terms of effect sizes and a serious risk of bias, mainly due to confounding in the included studies. CONCLUSION Our comprehensive review shows that ACEI/ARB exposure is associated with COVID-19 outcomes such as susceptibility to infection, severity, and hospitalization in unadjusted analyses. However, after adjusting for potential confounding factors, this association is not evident. Patients on cardiovascular drugs should continue taking their medications as currently recommended. Higher quality evidence in the form of randomized controlled trials will be needed to determine any adverse or beneficial effects of cardiovascular drugs. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE None SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION PROSPERO (CRD42020191283)
doi:10.1101/2020.10.07.20208918 fatcat:bhaxm5gaxnfklgfknlcwexteui