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The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities. ARIC is designed to investigate the causes of atherosclerosis and its clinical outcomes, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care, and disease by race, gender, location, and date. To date, the ARIC study has published over 2,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals. ARIC includes two parts: the Cohort Component and the Community Surveillance Component .
The Cohort Component began in 1987, and each ARIC field center randomly selected and recruited a cohort sample of approximately 4,000 individuals aged 45-64 from a defined population in their community, to receive extensive examinations, including medical, social, and demographic data. Follow-up also occurs semi-annually, by telephone, to maintain contact and to assess health status of the cohort.
In the Community Surveillance Component, the four communities are investigated to determine the long term trends in hospitalized myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths in approximately 470,000 men and women aged 35-84 years.
Objectives of the Study
- Examine the ARIC cohort to characterize heart failure stages in the community, identify genetic and environmental factors leading to ventricular dysfunction and vascular stiffness, and assess longitudinal changes in pulmonary function and identify determinants of its decline.
- Cohort follow-up for cardiovascular events, including CHD, heart failure, stroke, and atrial fibrillation; and for the study of risk factors related to progression of subclinical to clinical CVD.
- Enhance the ARIC cohort study with cardiovascular outcomes research to assess quality and outcomes of medical care for heart failure and heart failure risk factors.
- Community surveillance to monitor long-term trends in hospitalized MI, CHD deaths, and heart failure (inpatient and outpatient).
- Provide a platform for ancillary studies, training for new investigators, and data sharing.
The Cohort Component of the ARIC study began in 1987, and each of the four ARIC field centers (Washington County, MD; Forsyth County, NC; Jackson, MS; and Minneapolis, MN) randomly selected and recruited a cohort sample of approximately 4,000 individuals aged 45-64 from a defined population in their community. A total of 15,792 participants received an extensive examination, including medical, social, and demographic data. These participants were re-examined every three years with the first screen (baseline) occurring in 1987-89, the second in 1990-92, the third in 1993-95, and the fourth exam was in 1996-98. In 2009, the NHLBI funded a fifth exam, which is currently being conducted.
In the community surveillance component, the four communities are investigated to determine the long term trends in hospitalized MI and CHD deaths in approximately 470,000 men and women aged 35-84 years. Events are investigated by review of hospital records and by query of physicians and family members and are given standardized diagnoses. Starting in 2006, surveillance of inpatient (ages 55 years and older) and outpatient heart failure (ages 65 years and older) is included for the events occurring in 2005 and later.
ANNUAL AND SEMI-ANNUAL FOLLOW-UP CONTACT
Annual follow-up of the cohort by telephone began in 1987, to maintain contact and to assess health status of the cohort. Beginning in 2012, the cohort will be contacted semi-annually.