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Today’s top news highlights: ACE inhibitors in COVID patients, fewer AMI admissions, and more


Here are the stories our MDedge editors across specialties think you need to know about today:

Are ACE inhibitors protective in COVID-19?

Older patients with COVID-19 had a lower risk of developing severe illness if they were taking ACE inhibitors, according to a large observational U.S. study. ACE inhibitor use was associated with an almost 40% lower risk for COVID-19 hospitalization for older people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Senior investigator Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, said that while he and his associates think this finding is worthy of further study, “We don’t believe this is enough info to change practice.” The study was published on the MedRxiv preprint server and has not yet been peer reviewed.


AMI: Admissions drop, deaths rise

In Italy, sharp nationwide decreases in hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs) during the height of COVID-19 were offset by higher mortality for patients who did present. The study counted AMIs at 54 hospitals nationwide for the week of March 12-19, 2020, and compared that with an equivalent week in 2019 – 319 vs. 618 AMIs, respectively, representing a 48% reduction in hospitalizations. Mortality for ST-segment elevation MI cases more than tripled to 14% during the outbreak, compared with 4% in 2019. “The concern is fewer MIs most likely means people are dying at home or presenting later as this study suggests,” commented Martha Gulati, MD, chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, who was not involved with the study.


Prenatal, postpartum screening for depression falls short

Health care providers fail to ask one in five prenatal patients and one in eight postpartum patients about depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers analyzed self-reported data on postpartum depressive symptoms collected in 2018 by the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Mental health conditions play a role in approximately 9% of pregnancy-related deaths and not asking about depression represents “missed opportunities to potentially identify and treat women with depression,” said coauthor Jean Y. Ko, PhD, from the division of reproductive health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.


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