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Report: Hypertension significantly raises risk of dying from coronavirus

Patients suffering high blood pressure seem to be at much greater risk of dying from coronavirus, a top Chinese doctor said.

The doctor, who works in intensive care and has been treating critically ill patients since mid-January, told Bloomberg that nearly half of the initial 170 patients who died in Wuhan had hypertension.

“That’s a very high ratio,” Du Bin, director of the ICU at Peking Union Medical College Center, told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “From what I was told by other doctors and the data I can see myself, among all the underlying diseases, hypertension is a key dangerous factor.”

“Though there is no research published on that yet, we believe hypertension could be an important factor in causing patients to deteriorate, leading to a bad prognosis.

“We’ll keep an eye on old people and those with high blood pressure. They are the key focus.”

Bloomberg also noted that 6% of coronavirus patients end up in critical condition, and that deterioration can occur rapidly.

Du also said that aggressive ventilation should be used for patients experiencing respiratory distress, and that most of those who require ventilation and later recover were put on invasive ventilation early on.

“Patients need to use invasive ventilation as early as possible, there’s no point of doing it late,” he emphasized to Bloomberg.

Regarding those who test positive again shortly after leaving the hospital, Du said: “What we need to look at in terms of those who tested positive again is concerns over the authenticity of their negative results.”

He also noted that different manufacturers’ tests have shown inconsistencies which can impact the results.