The Progression and Early detection of Subclinical Atherosclerosis (PESA) study: rationale and design

Am Heart J. 2013 Dec;166(6):990-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2013.08.024. Epub 2013 Oct 10.


Background: The presence of subclinical atherosclerosis is a likely predictor of cardiovascular events; however, factors associated with the early stages and progression of atherosclerosis are poorly defined.

Objective: The PESA study examines the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis by means of noninvasive imaging and prospectively analyzes the determinants associated with its development and progression in a middle-aged population.

Methods: The PESA study is an observational, longitudinal and prospective cohort study in a target population of 4000 healthy subjects (40-54 years old, 35% women) based in Madrid (Spain). Recruitment began in June 2010 and will be completed by the end of 2013. Baseline examination consists of (1) assessment for cardiovascular risk factors (including lifestyle and psychosocial factors); (2) screening for subclinical atherosclerosis using 2D/3D ultrasound in carotid, abdominal aorta and iliofemoral arteries, and coronary artery calcium score (CACS) by computed tomography; and (3) blood sampling for determination of traditional risk factors, advanced "omics" and biobanking. In addition, a subgroup of 1300 participants with evidence of atherosclerosis on 2D/3D ultrasound or CACS will undergo a combined (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging ((18)FDG PET/MRI) study of carotid and iliofemoral arteries. Follow-up at 3 and 6 years will include a repetition of baseline measurements, except for the (18)FDG PET/MRI study, which will be repeated at 6 years.

Conclusions: The PESA study is expected to identify new imaging and biological factors associated with the presence and progression of atherosclerosis in asymptomatic people and will help to establish a more personalized management of medical care.

Trial registration: NCT01410318.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Asymptomatic Diseases*
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spain
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vascular Calcification / diagnostic imaging


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18

Associated data