Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC)

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Accession Number

Study Type
Epidemiology Study

Collection Type
Open BioLINCC Study See bottom of this webpage for request information

Study Period

NHLBI Division

Dataset(s) Last Updated
September 13, 2023

Primary Publication URLs

Related Studies


Commercial Use Data Restrictions Yes

Data Restrictions Based On Area Of Research No

Available Data

Data available for request include ARIC v1-v7 examination cycles, collated annual follow-up communication data for contact years 2-29, and follow-up for mortality, heart disease, and stroke events through 2018. Also included are data from ancillary studies.


The objectives of ARIC are to: 1) investigate associations of factors, including those not previously measured in cohort studies, with prevalence of atherosclerosis and incidence of CHD, clinical stroke and other cardiovascular diseases; and 2) measure cardiovascular disease occurrence and trends and relate these to community levels of, and changes in, risk factors, medical care and atherosclerosis.


At the time of project initiation, the NHLBI had long recognized the need for longitudinal studies to identify the biochemical and physiological markers and specific environmental factors which place individuals at high risk for the major atherosclerosis diseases. The development of reliable ultrasound examination of peripheral arteries enhanced the expected benefit of such studies. Community surveillance planning began for ARIC in response to recommendations of the 1978 NHLBI Workshop on the Decline in CHD Mortality and has been extended in its purpose to evaluate the large geographic differences in U.S. mortality.


Black and white men and women, age 45-64 at entry; sample size: 15,792.


ARIC is a large-scale, long-term prospective study that measures associations of established and suspected coronary heart disease risk factors with both atherosclerosis and new CHD events in men and women from four geographically diverse communities. The project has two components: community surveillance of morbidity and mortality; and repeated examinations of a representative cohort of men and women in each community. The community surveillance involves abstracting hospital records and death certificates and investigating out-of-hospital deaths. The representative cohorts include approximately 4,000 persons from each community.

Community surveillance data includes detailed hospital record abstraction, ECG tracings, and event adjudication. Data from out-of-hospital events in the community include physician, informant, and coroner questionaires as well as death certificate data and event adjudication.

All cohort participants were examined four times at three year intervals and contacted annually to update their medical histories. Atherosclerosis was measured by carotid ultrasonography. Risk factors studied include: blood lipids, lipoprotein cholesterols, and apolipoproteins; plasma hemostatic factors; blood chemistries and hematology; sitting, supine and standing blood pressures; anthropometry; fasting blood glucose and insulin levels; ECG findings; cigarette and alcohol use; physical activity levels; dietary aspects; and family history.

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Resources Available

Study Datasets Only

Study Documents

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