PESA Project- Progression of early subclinical atherosclerosis

MICINN, ISCIII, CNIC, Fundación PROCNIC, Santander MICINN ISCIII CNIC Fundación PROCNIC Santander Proyecto PESA - Progression of early subclinical atherosclerosis


Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3
Postal Code: 28029, Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 914531200 (Ext. 5400)
Fax: (+34) 91 4531245

Recruitment and study protocol

Banco Santander employees who fit the PESA age profile were informed about the study during their annual medical check-up. Those interested in volunteering for the study were given detailed information and asked to give their consent for participation.

In addition to their annual check-up conducted by the Medical Services department at Banco Santander, participants entering the PESA study undergo a comprehensive series of diagnostic tests and evaluations. In the initial sessions, investigators collect demographic, anthropometric and familial information and evaluate the presence of the main cardiovascular risk factors through the analysis of diet, level of physical activity, psychosocial factors and sleep patterns. In this initial phase all volunteers also underwent a physical examination and had an electrocardiogram taken.


After this first visit, the blood samples obtained are analyzed for the presence of what are known as emerging risk factors: risk factors other than the main established ones (hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, etc.) that require sophisticated tests using the techniques of genomics and metabolomics.

The visit is completed with a battery of cardiovascular imaging tests: vascular 2D and 3D ultrasound of carotid arteries, abdominal aorta and ilio-femoral arteries, together with computerized axial tomography (CAT) for quantification of calcium deposition in the coronary arteries. In this way the annual health report is supplemented with data on the status of the coronary and systemic arteries of each individual.

Participants testing positive for risk factors are further examined by advanced imaging techniques: a study with hybrid technology combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) of the carotid and ilio-femoral territories.

These imaging tests are widely used in other fields of medicine as routine diagnostic tools and are accepted by the international scientific community. In PESA, these non-invasive procedures provide physicians with important information about the anatomy (ultrasound imaging, MRI and CAT) and the inflammatory state (PET) of the vascular system.

These tests will be repeated on the same participants at the end of the third and sixth years after their inclusion in the study. All participants will receive a detailed report after each visit summarizing their cardiovascular state of health, determined through the most advanced imaging technologies. Over the six years of the study, these reports will provide valuable information about each participant’s risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event.

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