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The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a study of the characteristics of subclinical cardiovascular disease (disease detected non-invasively before it has produced clinical signs and symptoms) and the risk factors that predict progression to clinically overt cardiovascular disease or progression of the subclinical disease.


Funding for MESA is provided by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  (NHLBI)


MESA Co-investigators at Johns Hopkins University:

Other Hopkins MESA- affiliated investigators:

MESA Hopkins Field Center Staff:

  • Catherine Morales- Field Center Manager
  • Carol Christman, Ann Martz, Sheila Odum, Sonia Watkins, Ted Wies


MESA researchers study a diverse, population-based sample of 6,814 asymptomatic men and women aged 45-84. Approximately 38 percent of the recruited participants are white, 28 percent African-American, 22 percent Hispanic, and 12 percent Asian, predominantly of Chinese descent.

Participants were recruited from six field centers across the United States, including Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Each participant received an extensive physical exam to determine coronary calcification, ventricular mass and function, flow-mediated endothelial vasodilation, carotid intimal-medial wall thickness and presence of echogenic lucencies in the carotid artery, lower extremity vascular insufficiency, arterial wave forms, electrocardiographic (ECG) measures, standard coronary risk factors, sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, and psychosocial factors.

Selected repetition of subclinical disease measures and risk factors at follow-up visits have allowed study of the progression of disease. Blood samples have been assayed for putative biochemical risk factors and stored for case-control studies. DNA are being extracted and lymphocytes immortalized for study of candidate genes and genome-wide scanning. Participants are being followed for identification and characterization of cardiovascular disease events, including acute myocardial infarction and other forms of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and congestive heart failure; for cardiovascular disease interventions; and for mortality.

Additional information can be found on the MESA website.