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Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

For more information: Researchers please visit the study website here. Participants please visit the participant site here.

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities, including Washington County, Maryland. Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, ARIC was originally designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis, the etiology of clinical atherosclerotic diseases, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location and date. ARIC data have also become an important resource for the study of diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic diseases. Future research will examine the vascular basis of aging-related dementia and cancer.

ARIC includes two components: cohort and community surveillance. The cohort component began in 1987. Each field center randomly selected and recruited approximately 4,000 individuals ages 45 to 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 reexamined every three years, with the second visit in 1990-92, the third in 1993-95, and the fourth in 1996-98. Follow-up occurs yearly by telephone to assess participants’ health status, including hospitalization. A fifth follow-up visit will begin in June 2011 and continue through 2013.

The community surveillance component is designed to measure the community-wide occurrence of hospitalized myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease deaths in men and women aged 35 to 84 years,  and since 2005 heart failure (among those aged 55 years and older).

To date, the ARIC project and ancillary studies have led to more than 2000 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and numerous abstracts and other summary reports of ARIC data at various national and international scientific conferences and meetings. The dedication of staff and participants has led to a annual follow-up rate of over 90%.