The fate of endothelial function testing: rationale and design of the Firefighters And Their Endothelium (FATE) study.
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Endothelial dysfunction plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of atherosclerotic vascular disease. The endothelium is strategically located between blood and vascular smooth muscle, making it both vulnerable to a variety of injurious stimuli but also available for interrogation as a marker of vascular health. Firefighters And Their Endothelium (FATE) is a prospective, longitudinal cohort study designed to assess the relationship between endothelial function, emerging cardiovascular risk factors and ultimately atherosclerotic vascular disease. It is hypothesized that participants with impaired endothelial function will be at increased risk of atherosclerotic complications. This Canadian initiative will recruit 1600 middle-aged participants with no known history of cardiovascular disease to be followed for cardiovascular events over the next decade. Quantitative B-mode ultrasound will be employed to assess endothelial function and subclinical atherosclerosis. This research is designed to redefine the approach to the primary prevention of atherosclerosis.
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