Cohort profile: the Utrecht Cardiovascular Cohort-Second Manifestations of Arterial Disease (UCC-SMART) Study-an ongoing prospective cohort study of patients at high cardiovascular risk in the Netherlands

Maria C Castelijns, Marga A G Helmink, Steven H J Hageman, Folkert W Asselbergs, Gert J de Borst, Michiel L Bots, Maarten J Cramer, Jannick A N Dorresteijn, Marielle H Emmelot-Vonk, Mirjam I Geerlings, Pim A de Jong, Niels P van der Kaaij, L Jaap Kappelle, A Titia Lely, Manon G van der Meer, Barend M Mol, Hendrik M Nathoe, N Charlotte Onland-Moret, Rutger B van Petersen, Ynte M Ruigrok, Maarten van Smeden, Martin Teraa, Angela Vandersteen, Marianne C Verhaar, Jan Westerink, Frank L J Visseren

Published: 20 February 2023


Purpose: The Utrecht Cardiovascular Cohort-Second Manifestations of Arterial Disease (UCC-SMART) Study is an ongoing prospective single-centre cohort study with the aim to assess important determinants and the prognosis of cardiovascular disease progression. This article provides an update of the rationale, design, included patients, measurements and findings from the start in 1996 to date.

Participants: The UCC-SMART Study includes patients aged 18-90 years referred to the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or severe cardiovascular risk factors. Since September 1996, a total of 14 830 patients have been included. Upon inclusion, patients undergo a standardised screening programme, including questionnaires, vital signs, laboratory measurements, an ECG, vascular ultrasound of carotid arteries and aorta, ankle-brachial index and ultrasound measurements of adipose tissue, kidney size and intima-media thickness. Outcomes of interest are collected through annual questionnaires and adjudicated by an endpoint committee.

Findings to date: By May 2022, the included patients contributed to a total follow-up time of over 134 000 person-years. During follow-up, 2259 patients suffered a vascular endpoint (including non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke and vascular death) and 2794 all-cause deaths, 943 incident cases of diabetes and 2139 incident cases of cancer were observed up until January 2020. The UCC-SMART cohort contributed to over 350 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, including prediction models recommended by the 2021 European Society of Cardiology CVD prevention guidelines.

Future plans: The UCC-SMART Study guarantees an infrastructure for research in patients at high cardiovascular risk. The cohort will continue to include about 600 patients yearly and follow-up will be ongoing to ensure an up-to-date cohort in accordance with current healthcare and scientific knowledge. In the near future, UCC-SMART will be enriched by echocardiography, and a food frequency questionnaire at baseline enabling the assessment of associations between nutrition and CVD and diabetes.

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