The Prospective Studies of Atherosclerosis (Proof-ATHERO) Consortium: Design and Rationale

Proof-ATHERO Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atherosclerosis - the pathophysiological mechanism shared by most cardiovascular diseases - can be directly or indirectly assessed by a variety of clinical tests including measurement of carotid intima-media thickness, carotid plaque, -ankle-brachial index, pulse wave velocity, and coronary -artery calcium. The Prospective Studies of Atherosclerosis -(Proof-ATHERO) consortium ( collates de-identified individual-participant data of studies with information on atherosclerosis measures, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. It currently comprises 74 studies that involve 106,846 participants from 25 countries and over 40 cities. In summary, 21 studies recruited participants from the general population (n = 67,784), 16 from high-risk populations (n = 22,677), and 37 as part of clinical trials (n = 16,385). Baseline years of contributing studies range from April 1980 to July 2014; the latest follow-up was until June 2019. Mean age at baseline was 59 years (standard deviation: 10) and 50% were female. Over a total of 830,619 person-years of follow-up, 17,270 incident cardiovascular events (including coronary heart disease and stroke) and 13,270 deaths were recorded, corresponding to cumulative incidences of 2.1% and 1.6% per annum, respectively. The consortium is coordinated by the Clinical Epidemiology Team at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. Contributing studies undergo a detailed data cleaning and harmonisation procedure before being incorporated in the Proof-ATHERO central database. Statistical analyses are being conducted according to pre-defined analysis plans and use established methods for individual-participant data meta-analysis. Capitalising on its large sample size, the multi-institutional collaborative Proof-ATHERO consortium aims to better characterise, understand, and predict the development of atherosclerosis and its clinical consequences. © 2020 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-459
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Consortium
  • Individual-participant data
  • Prospective studies
  • Repeat measurements
  • high density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • low density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • triacylglycerol
  • ankle brachial index
  • Article
  • atherosclerosis
  • Austria
  • body mass
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cardiovascular risk
  • carotid artery bifurcation
  • cerebrovascular accident
  • coronary artery calcium score
  • death
  • diastolic blood pressure
  • follow up
  • high risk population
  • human
  • internal carotid artery
  • ischemic heart disease
  • methodology
  • priority journal
  • pulse wave velocity
  • risk factor
  • smoking
  • social status
  • systolic blood pressure
  • triacylglycerol blood level


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