Coronavirus: Virus more fatal if you have high blood pressure, Wuhan doctor says


A top Chinese doctor who has been treating seriously ill coronavirus patients in Wuhan believes hypertension may increase your changes of dying from the virus.

Du Bin is the director of Peking Union Medical College Hospital’s intensive care unit and was among a group of Chinese physicians sent to the virus epicentre to treat coronavirus cases two months ago.

In a group of 170 patients which died from COVID-19 in January nearly half had hypertension — a “very high ratio”, Dr Bin told Bloomberg.

“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,” Dr Bin said.

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media_cameraMedical workers discuss patients’ treatment near a Communist Party flag at the ‘Wuhan Living Room’ temporary hospital in Wuhan. Picture: Gao Xiang/Xinhua via AP.

“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.”

According to the Heart Foundation almost six million Australia adults have hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.

The risk of having hypertension increases with age and those in regional or rural areas have a 27 per cent higher rate of the condition.

High blood pressure increases a person’s risk of having heart disease, a stroke or kidney disease.

The condition can be managed and risk reduced through medication, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a nutritious diet.

Other factors that increase the risk of a fatal coronavirus case include old age and a weakened immune system.

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A female Chinese volunteer from Blue Sky Rescue puts on a mask as she wears a protective suit before fumigating and disinfecting an area of a local bus station last week. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-Virus-more-fatal-if-you-have-high-blood-pressure.webp”/>
media_cameraA female Chinese volunteer from Blue Sky Rescue puts on a mask as she wears a protective suit before fumigating and disinfecting an area of a local bus station last week. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.

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Besides keeping an eye on these risk factors Dr Bin said patients needed to be ventilated using aggressive methods as soon as they began showing signs of respiratory distress to increase their chances of survival.

Nearly half of those who needed aggressive ventilation – which included either inserting a tube down a patient’s throat or cutting the throat open for an airway – ended up dying as organ failure can set in, he said.

But those who were ventilated early were among the majority of recovered cases.

“Patients need to use invasive ventilation as early as possible, there’s no point if doing it late,” Dr Bin said.

There’s 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 55 in NSW where two elderly patients have died.

Shelves usually stocked with toilet rolls are seen empty in a supermarket following panic buying in Sydney last week. Picture: Saeed Khan/AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/1583835878_858_Coronavirus-Virus-more-fatal-if-you-have-high-blood-pressure.jpeg”/>
media_cameraShelves usually stocked with toilet rolls are seen empty in a supermarket following panic buying in Sydney last week. Picture: Saeed Khan/AFP.

Globally there’s been more than 113,000 cases and 4000 deaths, with the biggest outbreaks in China, Italy, South Korea and Iran.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other leaders have called for calm as people panic buy essential items, a top doctor has said people have every right to be worried.
WA head of the Australian Medical Association Andrew Miller said the coronavirus crisis was unprecedented and those stockpiling toilet paper were “being sensible”.

“What causes panic is if you tell people, ‘Look just carry on, it’s going to be OK.’ It’s not going to be OK … this is going to be a disaster,” he said on Channel 7’s Flashpoint last night.

Originally published as ‘Dangerous’ factor that makes virus fatal



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