The SCAPIS database will facilitate research on cardiovascular diseases

2021-03-15

Professor Johan Sundström
Johan Sundström, Head of
SCAPIS Uppsala.

The national SCAPIS study, in which just over 30,000 Swedes were included and underwent an extensive health examination, including at the Uppsala University Hospital, took place in the years 2013–2018. The purpose is to find risk factors/markers and to be able to treat people who have a risk of cardiovascular diseases before they become ill. On 17 March, the study’s database will open for large-scale research.

“The fact that the database will now be available to researchers affiliated with Swedish universities is an important milestone. SCAPIS will be a valuable source of research for many years to come. In the longer term, the hope is to be able to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in future generations”, says Johan Sundström, Cardiologist at the Uppsala University Hospital and Professor at Uppsala University, as well as Head of SCAPIS Uppsala.

Uppsala was one of six study centres that welcomed participants in SCAPIS. Region Uppsala and Uppsala University funded parts of this fundraiser. A total of 5,038 people aged 50–64 participated.

“Each generation needs its own representative cohort study. We have a good knowledge of the links between risk factors and heart-lung diseases from previous studies, but the total effects on heart-lung diseases need to be studied within the framework of the risk factor pattern that each generation has”, Johan Sundström emphasizes.

As an example, he mentions that obesity and diabetes are more common in the population today compared to several decades ago when the so-called Framingham study was done. At the same time, the proportion of smokers has decreased.

“With SCAPIS, we have also been able to collect a large amount of very valuable data that has not been available in previous studies, for example with CT scan of the heart and lungs”, Johan Sundström continues.

Of a total of about 90,000 Swedes who die annually, almost 40,000 dies of cardiovascular diseases. According to Johan Sundström, it is a bit of a paradox that there is a well-known zero vision for the number of fatalities in traffic accidents, but not the same awareness regarding the most common cause of death in the western world.

“According to the European Heart Health Charter, Sweden has, in fact, signed the zero vision that everyone born after 2000 has the right to live to at least 65 years of age without dying from preventable cardiovascular disease. Despite this, today there are about 20 times more than the traffic deaths – about 3,500 people – who die of cardiovascular diseases before the age of 65. If we are lucky, with the help of SCAPIS, we will learn to find early signs of cardiovascular diseases, which we do not know today, and be able to give these people a chance at survival”, Johan Sundström concludes.

The article is originally a press release from the Uppsala University Hospital.