Cardiovascular Health Research Unit

Previous Projects

Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) Study

The Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) Study examines the development and determinants of cardiovascular disease. Beginning in 1985-86 with a group of 5115 black and white men and women aged 18-30 years, participants were asked to participate in follow up examinations during 1987-1988 (Year 2), 1990-1991 (Year 5), 1992-1993 (Year 7), 1995-1996 (Year 10), 2000-2001 (Year 15), 2005-2006 (Year 20), and 2010-2011 (Year 25). A wide range of data has been collected at each follow-up examination, allowing for a wealth of longitudinal data on cardiovascular disease risk.

Epidemiology of IGFs and Aging

The insulin-like growth factor (IGFs) system is highly conserved across species and plays a major role in growth and development. Model organisms with low IGF-1 activity have extended longevity, but also exhibit characteristics associated with reduced fitness, such as infertility, small body size, and abnormal energy metabolism. Carried out in the setting of the Cardiovascular Health Study (see above), the Epidemiology of IGFs and Aging project uses molecular epidemiology to study how declining IGF activity with advancing age may influence risk of age-related conditions.

Patterns of Health Care Use, Treatment & Outcomes in Atrial Fibrillation: PATH-AF

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important public health problem and a major source of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. This study’s aim is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the health care of patients with AF and how investments in that care are directly linked to survival and health. To accomplish this, the researchers are assessing the use of guidelines-based care for treatment of AF, analyzing the use of emerging technologies in the monitoring and treatment of AF, and examining the relationship between health care utilization and outcome in patients with AF.


Proarrhythmia is an instance of arrhythmia—irregular heartbeat—precipitated by the use of medication. This study was founded to examine the cardiac safety of commonly-used medications using a population-based case-control study nested within the dynamic cohorts of 9 large health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Research has been focused on risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to heart disease associated with drug therapies that alter cardiac conduction and autonomic function—physiological effects that may result in proarrhythmia.

Efforts to Develop the Sentinel Initiative: Improvements to Prospective Routine Observational Monitoring Programs Tools (PROMPT)

The US Food and Drug Administration’s Mini-Sentinel project is designed to monitor the safety of FDA-regulated medical products. The aim of this research is to further test and enhance modular programming code to routinely and efficiently implement sequential design and analysis approaches.

Validating Cardiovascular Risk Estimates for Patients with HIV Using Adjudicated Myocardial Infarctions

This study examines the risk of myocardial infarction associated with antiretroviral medications, metabolic abnormalities, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, and other human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific factors using longitudinal data from a large cohort collaboration of HIV-infected individuals.

Epidemiologic Study of Sick Sinus Syndrome

Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) is a disorder characterized by symptomatic dysfunction of the sinoatrial node. Though SSS accounts for 30-50% of indications for pacemaker implantations in the US and other Western Countries, incidence and risk factors have been little studied in the general population. This study seeks to calculate age, gender and race specific incidence of SSS, identify lifestyles, clinical variables and biomarkers associated with SSS incidence and to evaluate the impact of SSS incidence on the subsequent risk of other cardiovascular outcomes.

Cardiovascular Epidemiology Training Grant

The Training Grant has allowed CHRU to recruit outstanding pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees to the program. Trainees are able to exploit the considerable faculty and data resources at the University of Washington to address important scientific questions in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention. While here, trainees have established new collaborations and studies, and funds from this grant support small pilot studies and attendance at conferences. Many former trainees have continued their work at CHRU, including, among many others, current co-director Nona Sotoodehnia.