Background Cardiovascular disease remains the major contributor to morbidity and mortality. In routine care for patients with an elevated cardiovascular risk or with symptomatic cardiovascular disease information is mostly collected in an unstructured manner, making the data of limited use for structural feedback, quality control, learning and scientific research. Objective The Utrecht Cardiovascular Cohort (UCC) initiative aims to create an infrastructure for uniform registration of cardiovascular information in routine clinical practice for patients referred for cardiovascular care at the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. This infrastructure will promote optimal care according to guidelines, continuous quality control in a learning healthcare system and creation of a research database. Methods The UCC comprises three parts. UCC-1 comprises enrolment of all eligible cardiovascular patients in whom the same information will be collected, based on the Dutch cardiovascular management guideline. A sample of UCC-1 will be invited for UCC-2. UCC-2 involves an enrichment through extensive clinical measurements with emphasis on heart failure, cerebral ischaemia, arterial aneurysms, diabetes mellitus and elevated blood pressure. UCC-3 comprises on-top studies, with in-depth measurements in smaller groups of participants typically based on dedicated project grants. All participants are followed up for morbidity and mortality through linkage with national registries. Conclusion In a multidisciplinary effort with physicians, patients and researchers the UCC sets a benchmark for a learning cardiovascular healthcare system. UCC offers an invaluable resource for future high quality care as well as for first-class research for investigators.
Keywords: Cardiovascular; cohort; healthcare learning; quality control; treatment; trial.