Door-to-door survey of cardiovascular health, stroke, and ischemic heart disease in rural coastal Ecuador – the Atahualpa Project: methodology and operational definitions
- Conflicts of interest: Nothing to disclose.
- Funding: This study was partially supported by an unrestricted grant from the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo. The sponsor had no role in the design of the study or in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.
Stroke and cardiovascular diseases will be the next health epidemics in Latin America due to increased life expectancy and changes in the lifestyle and dietary habits of the population. Knowledge of the cardiovascular health status of the inhabitants will allow the implementation of policies directed to reduce the burden of stroke and cardiovascular diseases in the region.
To evaluate the cardiovascular health status of the inhabitants of Atahualpa (a rural village in coastal Ecuador) and to determine the prevalence and incidence of stroke and ischemic heart disease in the region.
Three-phase epidemiologic survey. During phase I, Atahualpa residents aged ≥40 years will be screened with standardized questionnaires to evaluate their cardiovascular health and to identify those with suspected stroke or ischemic heart disease. In phase II, neurologists and cardiologists will examine suspected cases of stroke or ischemic heart disease, as well as a random sample of matched negative individuals, to assess the prevalence and incidence of these conditions. In phase III, patients with a diagnosis of stroke and ischemic heart disease will undergo complementary tests for achieving a more specific diagnosis.
Implementation of public health strategies directed to improve the cardiovascular health status of a given population must be based on studies evaluating specific risk factors at regional levels. Epidemiologic surveys such as the Atahualpa Project may prove cost-effective in improving the cardiovascular health status of people living in Latin American rural villages by increasing the knowledge on the particular needs of these populations.