Chung-Ang University Hospital Researchers Determine Hypertension Drugs Don’t Appear to Increase Mortality Risk Among COVID-19 Patients

Chung-Ang University Hospital Researchers Determine Hypertension Drugs Don’t Appear to Increase Mortality Risk Among COVID-19 Patients

Chung-Ang University Hospital investigators have determined that renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors used in connection with hypertension drugs don’t pose a risk of death to Korean patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic.

Possible Risks

Many patients in Korea (and in many parts of the world, including the United States) use RAAS inhibitors for hypertension and heart failure. There has been some concern that taking these medications raise the risks of infection for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. This novel coronavirus  binds to a protein on the surface of human cells known as the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) receptor. These ACE2 receptors are in the lungs mostly via the epithelial cells creating a high risk of susceptibility to infection when a COVID-19 patient uses RAAS inhibitors.

The Study

This observational study was recently published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases of the Infectious Disease Society of America, for which the research team utilized the Korea Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, reports Shim Hyun-tai from the Korea Biomedical Review. A total of 762 patients taking RAAS inhibitors and 4,417 patients not on such medication among the total number of COVID-19 patients—5,179—reviewed in this study. Those on anti-hypertension drug inhibitors in Korea, on average were 62.5 years of age—21 years older than those not on the medication. Those in the RAAS inhibitor group tended to be male and have more comorbidities (e.g. hypertension, heart failure, etc.).


According to the study, led by Professors Kim Won-young and Choi Jae-chol of Chung Ang University Hospital and Professor Jung Sun-young of Chung-Ang University College of Pharmacy, the fact that these COVID-19 patients were RAAS inhibitors didn’t affect their mortality rate.

At least based on this research in Korea, there isn’t any evidence that RAAS inhibitors represent an independent risk factor in clinical studies.

Investigator Comments

Professor Kim Won-young emphasized that previous studies were constrained because they didn’t look at hypertension drug use during hospitalization during the COVID-19 outbreak commenting, “In-hospital mortality rate was somewhat higher among RAAS inhibitor users than nonusers, but considering the age and comorbidities, we believe that RAAS inhibitor use was not independently associated with a higher risk of mortality among COVID-19 patients.”

About Chung-Ang University Hospital

Chung-Ang University Hospital, opened in 1968 as the first-ever association of medical school professors, has now become a more extensive institution after taking a great leap forward by moving from Pil-dong to Heukseok-dong in 2004, and then successfully merging with Yongsan Hospital, 27 years old in its history, in 2011.

The bigger CAUHS will now lead a new paradigm for the Korean medical field by accomplishing the new model for medical treatment, industrializing the biomedical field through convergence research, training global leaders, and creating the Center of Excellence, by sharing the spirit of affection, positivity, and passion.

Lead Research/Investigator

Professor Kim Won-young, Chung-Ang University Hospital

Choi Jae-chol, Chung-Ang University Hospital

Professor Jung Sun-young, Chung-Ang University College of Pharmacy