Hypertension more than doubles the risk of hospitalization related to Omicron infection, even in people who are fully vaccinated and boosted, according to a new study led by investigators in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. The findings are published in the journal Hypertension.
The risk is especially widespread given that nearly 1 out of every 2 adults in the U.S. have hypertension, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By reviewing electronic medical records, Cedars-Sinai investigators identified 912 people who were fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine, received a booster shot and were subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 during the Omicron surge that occurred in Southern California from December 1, 2021 through April 20, 2022. Of these individuals, 145 required hospitalization.
The team also found that chronic kidney disease, having had a heart attack, or heart failure, greatly increases the risk of hospitalization after infection.
Because hypertension is common in people with chronic kidney disease, heart attack and heart failure, the investigators conducted an analysis that excluded patients diagnosed at some point with these conditions. The risk for hospitalization was still substantial for people diagnosed with hypertension alone.
The risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 also increased with age and duration between a study participant’s last vaccination and infection. Hypertension, however, was associated with the greatest magnitude of risk: 2.6-fold.