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Heart Study



Heart Study

The Heart Study is currently being conducted at Chicago General Hospital as well as here at the University of Pittsburgh.

The overall goal of this study is to detect atherosclerotic lesions and related characteristics of the carotid artery at baseline; as well as changes over time in these measures, as indicators of early cardiovascular disease (CVD) in perimenopausal women. These indicators of CVD can then be correlated with other cardiovascular risk factors (lipids, glucose/insulin, clotting factors, body mass, blood pressure, etc.) as well as with relevant life-style factors (cigarette smoking, dietary fat intake, exercise, etc.) and menstrual/menopause status.

Because the major hypothesis concerns the influence of the change of menopausal status on markers of carotid artery heart disease, which requires women with no compromised function or the risk for compromised function, not every women completing Baseline will be offered this study. The goal at each site is to complete at least 225 Carotid Studies on randomly selected, eligible women.

The Heart Study is broken down into three parts; a URL appointment, EBCT appointment, and a home component. The URL appointment will take approximately 1 to 2 hours and is completed on the 3rd floor of 130 North Bellefield Avenue. At this appointment you will receive a Carotid Duplex Scan, Pulse Wave Velocity Test, and Endothelial Function Test.

The pulse wave velocity test involves resting on your back for 10 minutes and placing cool gel on you upper leg and neck. A flat pencil-like device will be pressed gently on these two areas at the same time to obtain ultrasound waveforms which will give information about your blood flow and stiffness of the vessels.

The endothelial function test will take approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked to lie quietly while an artery of my arm is examined using duplex scanning. The cool gel and probe will be placed against my arm to create a picture of the inside of my artery. A blood pressure cuff will be tightened on my forearm for 4 minutes and after deflation, images will be obtained for several minutes. Blood pressures will be taken during the exam.

The EBCT component is completed at the UPMC University Center, Suite 302 on Tennyson Avenue. The procedure will involve 3 small electrode patches being placed on my chest for the purpose of monitoring my heart rhythm. I will lie on my back on the scanner table and follow the breathing instructions given by the technologist as the table is moved through a ring that emits and detects x-rays. I will be asked to hold my breath twice for approximately 20-30 seconds each time. The exam will take approximately 30 minutes. Women who are pregnant will not take part in the EBCT testing. Therefore, if you have had a period in the last 12 months, you will be given a pregnancy test prior to having your EBCT test to determine your eligibility (please come 5 minutes early if you need a pregnancy test).

The last portion consists of a Psychosocial Questionnaire and the completion of a Salivary Cortisol Kit.

If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please contact us as soon as possible at 412-624-5300 or if your appointment is on a Saturday, please call 412-383-1452. Participants will receive $40 upon study completion and will be reimbursed for parking fees or round trip public transportation (maximum $10 per visit).



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