Objective: The population-based "Asymptomatic Polyvascular Abnormalities in Community (APAC) Study was designed to examine prevalence and associations of asymptomatic polyvascular abnormalities (APA) in a general population. In this report, the objectives, design and baseline data of the APAC study are described. Methods: The study included 5,440 participants (40.1% women) with an age of 40+ years who were randomly selected from the population of the Kailuan Study which included 101,510 employees and retirees of the Kailuan Co. Ltd, a large coal mine industry located in Tangshan, Hebei, China. Exclusion criteria were previous cerebral stroke, transient ischemic attacks and coronary heart disease. In 2010 and 2011, information on potential cardiovascular risk factors was collected and all participants underwent transcranial Doppler sonography, measurement of the ankle brachial index, and bilateral carotid duplex sonography. In a first follow-up examination in 2012/2013, retinal photography and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography were additionally performed. In a planned long-term follow-up, data from clinical examinations and laboratory tests and the occurrence of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events will be collected to build up a predicting model for the risk of ischemic events. Results: At baseline, mean age of the participants was 55.2±11.8 years, and men showed a significantly (P<0.001) higher prevalence of arterial hypertension (55.5% vs. 36.5%) and hyperlipidemia (50.7% vs. 46.0%) and a higher blood homocysteine concentration (18.68±10. 28ìmol/L versus 11.69±6.40ìmol/L). Conclusions: The APAC is the first study to prospectively evaluate the relationship between intracranial arterial stenosis, retinal nerve fiber layer changes, retinal microvascular signs, and the eventual development of cerebrovascular or cardiovascular events.
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