Dr Rodilla, a CEU UCH lecturer in internal medicine and specialist doctor at the Hypertension and Vascular Risk Unit at the Sagunto University Hospital, won the award at the Joint Meeting of the European Society of Hypertension and the International Society of Hypertension.
A study on the relationship between arterial stiffness and mortality in COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Spain, led by CEU UCH lecturer in internal medicine Enrique Rodilla Sala, has received a prestigious award at the Joint Meeting of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and the International Society of Hypertension (ISH). The “Talal Zein Award” was given to the three best oral presentations of the more than one thousand that took place at the conference, which occurs every six years and brings together specialists from across six continents. The ESH-ISH 2021 Joint Meeting, was cancelled last year due to the pandemic but took place in Glasgow between 11th and 14 April, being broadcast online.
For this award-winning study, Enrique Rodilla, CEU UCH lecturer in internal medicine and specialist doctor at the Hypertension and Vascular Risk Unit at the Sagunto University Hospital, led a team of 640 Spanish researchers, including three CEU UCH Medicine lecturers, Xavier Cortés, Sergio Canales and María Carmen Sáez, who make up the entire Internal Medicine team at the Sagunto University Hospital. The study analysed the records of 12,170 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 150 Spanish hospitals, which are members of the SEMI-COVID-19 Register, a register set up by the Spanish professional society for internal medicine, Sociedad Española de Medicina Interna (SEMI). As of today, the data of more than 20,000 patients are included in this register, making it one of the extensive databases in the world.
Arterial stiffness – a risk factor
“In this study, we found that, in patients admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, arterial stiffness – defined as having a pulse pressure above 60 mmHg upon admission – is an independently significant risk factor for overall mortality. This means that chronic arterial damage caused by hypertension can have a major impact on COVID-19 patients”, said Dr Rodilla. He also highlighted that arterial stiffness showed independent prognostic value beyond the mere presence of hypertension and treatment for high blood pressure, which are typical risk factors. In addition to receiving the Talal Zein Award at the ESH-ISH Joint Meeting 2021, the study has also been published in the journal Hypertension, which is in the top 10% of academic publications in the field.
Dr Enrique Rodilla, the president of Valencia’s regional internal medicine association, the Sociedad de Medicina Interna de la Comunidad Valenciana (SMICV), is also the first-named author of a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. This reported that hypertension was the most frequent comorbidity of those requiring hospital admission for COVID-19 in Spain: at 50.9%, it was more frequent than obesity or diabetes, two other factors which are associated with a higher risk of mortality. This study is one the 12 published that draw on the data in the SEMI-COVID-19 Register.
ESH-ISH Joint Meeting
The joint meeting between these two arterial hypertension societies, the ESH and the ISH, takes place every six years and draws in speakers and attendees from right across the world. Between four and five thousand doctors attend and they come from a range of different specialities, such as internal medicine, cardiology, nephrology and family medicine. “For the first time,” Dr Rodilla said, “this specialist meeting has taken place online, and, although this posed a significant challenge for all the speakers, the quality and interest of the research presented has not suffered and COVID-19 has been a major issue. On the one hand, there has been discussion of the fact that there has been a negative impact on the care provided to cardiovascular patients, and, on the other, there has been significant focus on the fact that hypertension medication and lipid-lowering drug treatment have to be maintained during the acute phase of COVID-19, to prevent the frequent vascular complications that it can cause.”