PESA Project- Progression of early subclinical atherosclerosis

MINECO, ISCIII, CNIC, Fundación PROCNIC, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander MINECO ISCIII CNIC Fundación PROCNIC Fundación Marcelino Botín Santander Proyecto PESA - Progression of early subclinical atherosclerosis


Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3
Postal Code: 28029, Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 91 4531200
Fax: (+34) 91 4531245

Goal: early detection of atherosclerosis

Cardiovascular diseases are the principal cause of death in the world, being responsible for 1.9 million deaths each year in the European Union alone. In Spain, these diseases account for 35% of male deaths and 43% of female deaths.

The most common cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, which is also responsible for the largest number of deaths. Atherosclerosis involves the deposition of lipids (fats) and other components in the arterial walls, creating obstructions and limiting the flow of blood to vital organs such as the heart and brain.

Early detection of this insidious process, which begins early in life and progresses without symptoms for decades, is the goal of the CNIC Santander PESA study.

Atherosclerosis often becomes apparent in the fifth or sixth decade of life in men and about ten years later in women, in the form of a myocardial infarction or cerebral vascular accident (stroke) that can provoke sudden death.


The appearance of the disease and its progression are determined by the presence of several well-established risk factors, which include smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, a sedentary life-style, overweight/obesity and diabetes. Based on assessment of these risk factors, physicians attempt to predict an individual’s risk of developing the disease, and use this prediction as the basis for prescribing appropriate life-style changes and prophylactic medication (1). With the PESA findings, it is expected that the physician will have access to more precise information (from imaging studies) for predicting cardiovascular risk and improving prevention.

(1) For more information see, Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE)

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