The Oxford Vascular Study (OxVasc) provides reliable and up-to-date information on the incidence, causes and outcome of all acute vascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks, in a population of nearly 100,000 people living in Oxfordshire. OxVasc started in 2002 and is the first and only population-based study of all acute vascular events irrespective of age in the world. The overall aim of the study is to improve our understanding of these conditions, and how to better treat patients. By collecting information from participants with vascular disease over a long period of time, we can track how the need for healthcare is changing, both for individuals and the population as a whole. For example, information gathered is used to answer questions such as:
- How many people are having a stroke or heart attack? Is the number rising or falling with time and why?
- Can we prevent acute vascular events with existing preventative strategies such as screening and risk factor management?
- Are there any biomarkers or genes that would identify people at greater risk of vascular disease?
Participants must be registered with one of the following eight collaborating GP practices to join the study, and healthy “controls” are also recruited from the same population for comparison:
- 19 Beaumont Street, Oxford
- Bartlemas Surgery, Oxford
- KEY Medical Practice, Kidlington and Yarnton
- The Malthouse Surgery, Abingdon
- Marcham Road Family Health Centre, Abingdon
- The Abingdon Surgery, 65 Stert Street, Abingdon
- Berinsfield Health Centre, Berinsfield
- Church Street Practice, Wantage
The results already obtained from the OxVasc cohort have changed guidelines around the world on how patients with TIA (mini-strokes) are investigated and treated. For example, having shown that the risk of major stroke in the next few days is very high, that those individuals at highest risk can be identified using a simple risk score, and that emergency treatment reduces this early risk of major stroke (see below).
Other projects include detailed analyses of the incidence and outcome of acute coronary events, the first ever population-based study of the incidence and outcome of acute peripheral vascular events, and several studies of patient behaviour and the effectiveness of existing secondary prevention e.g. blood pressure lowering treatment.
For more information on OxVasc visit www.ndcn.ox.ac.uk/research/oxvasc