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Study Description

Note: This substudy phs000377 CARe Cardiovascular Health Study contains 50K genotypes from ~2,100 candidate genes produced as part of NHLBI's Candidate-Gene Association Resource (CARe) project. Summary level phenotypes for the Cardiovascular Health Study Cohort study participants can be viewed at the top-level study page phs000287 Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) Cohort. Individual level phenotype data and molecular data for the Cardiovascular Health Study top-level study and substudies are available by requesting Authorized Access to the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) Cohort study phs000287.


The Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) is a study of risk factors for development and progression of CHD and stroke in people aged 65 years and older. The objectives of the Cardiovascular Health Study are to: 1) quantify associations of conventional and hypothesized risk factors with CHD and stroke; 2) assess the associations of non-invasive measures of subclinical disease with the incidence of CHD and stroke; 3) quantify the associations of risk factors with subclinical disease; 4) characterize the natural history of CHD and stroke, and identify factors associated with clinical course; and 5) describe the prevalence and distributions of risk factors, non-invasive measures of subclinical disease, and clinical CHD and stroke.


The study originated in 1988 from the recommendations of an NHLBI workshop on the management of CHD in the elderly. This is the most extensive study undertaken by the NHLBI to study CVD exclusively in an elderly population. Initially funded for six years, it was renewed for a second six year period in 1994 and recently was renewed for continued morbidity and mortality follow-up.


The 5,888 study participants were recruited from four U.S. communities and have undergone extensive clinic examinations for evaluation of markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease. The original cohort totaled 5,201 participants. A new cohort was recruited in 1992. The 687 participants in the new cohort are predominately African-American and were recruited at three of the four field centers.


The 2,962 women and 2,239 men were examined yearly from 1989 through 1999. The added minority cohort of 256 men and 431 women was examined from 1992 to 1999. Examination components have included medical history questionnaires, measurement of ankle-brachial index, abdominal and carotid ultrasound studies, echocardiograms, ambulatory electrocardiograms, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging, spirometry and retinal photographs over the past decade. The most extensive evaluations were at study entry (baseline) and again in 1992-1993 to assess change in subclinical disease measures. CHS has undertaken extensive follow-up for ascertainment of cardiovascular events including incident claudication, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke and death.

NHLBI Candidate-gene Association Resource. The NHLBI initiated the Candidate gene Association Resource (CARe) to create a shared genotype/phenotype resource for analyses of the association of genotypes with phenotypes relevant to the mission of the NHLBI. The resource comprises nine cohort studies funded by the NHLBI including: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), Cleveland Family Study (CFS), Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA), Framingham Heart Study (FHS), Jackson Heart Study (JHS), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS). A database of genotype and phenotype data was created that includes records for approximately 41,000 study participants with approximately 50,000 SNPs from more than 2,000 selected candidate genes. In addition, a genome wide association study using a 1,000K SNP Chip was conducted on approximately 8,900 African American participants drawn from five CARe cohorts: ARIC, CARDIA, CFS, JHS, and MESA. Data from individual cohorts is available to approved investigators through dbGaP.

Some relevant CARe publications
CARe Study: PMID 20400780
CVD Chip Design: PMID 18974833

  • Study Weblink: CHS
  • Study Type: Longitudinal
  • Number of study subjects that have individual level data available through Authorized Access: 5279

Authorized Access
Publicly Available Data (Public ftp)

Note: Access to publicly available data is available on the public ftp site for study phs000287.v3.p1.

Study Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Participants aged 65 and older were recruited from random samples of Medicare eligibility lists in four communities: Sacramento County, California; Washington County, Maryland; Forsyth County, North Carolina; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and from age-eligible participants in the same household. Potential participants were excluded if they were institutionalized, wheelchair bound in the home, or under active treatment for cancer.

Molecular Data
TypeSourcePlatformNumber of Oligos/SNPsSNP Batch IdComment
Whole Genome Genotyping Illumina CVDSNP55v1_A 49094 1050734
Study History

The mean age at baseline was 72 years, 58% women, 16% Black, 31% had CVD. Participants were contacted twice per year, with phone follow-up alternating with clinic visits through 1999, and phone follow-up continuing through the present time. Clinic exams included medical and personal history, medication inventory, ECG, blood pressure, and assessment of physical and cognitive function, depression. Other components done less frequently included phlebotomy, spirometry, echocardiography, carotid ultrasound, cranial MR, and retinal exam, Cardiovascular events were adjudicated by a committee. The phone follow-up was done primarily for events ascertainment, but also included questions on independence of function.

Selected publications
Diseases/Traits Related to Study (MESH terms)
Authorized Data Access Requests
Study Attribution