Join the Covid-19 effects on ARTErial StIffness and vascular AgiNg (CARTESIAN) study!

The Artery Society, with the support of the COST Action VascAgeNet (CA18216, is launching a collaborative, multicentre research project in order to explore medium- and long-term vascular consequences of COVID-19.

Background and rationale

In December 2019, an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus, then officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), occurred in Wuhan, Hubei province (China), and has spread rapidly throughout China and the world. Although the clinical manifestations of coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) as caused by SARS-CoV-2 are dominated by respiratory symptoms, the cardiovascular system is heavily affected at multiple levels.

To gain insight into the long-term vascular consequences of COVID-19, high-quality data collection is needed, with follow-up studies amongst the survivors of acute infection. The fragmented evidence available to date indicate that a bidirectional relationship between cardiovascular disease and COVID-19 is present: on one hand, COVID-19 leads to cardiometabolic alterations and accelerated vascular ageing, on the other hand, COVID-19 outcome is worse in patients with pre-existing cardiometabolic disease. Obtaining an accurate vascular phenotyping in the largest number possible of individuals is needed in order to identify early predictors of CV events in individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 and orient toward the best preventive strategy.

In this project we will evaluate: whether an accelerated vascular ageing is associated with COVID-19 and whether vascular ageing is further accelerated as a function of COVID-19 severity and of pre-existing cardiometabolic disease and background treatments; whether psychosocial factors play a role in COVID-19-induced accelerated vascular ageing process.

Primary aim of the study

To study the medium- and long-term effects (3-6 months and 1 year) of SARS-CoV-2 infection on arterial stiffness and central haemodynamics.

Study design

This is a longitudinal, multicentre study. The study will recruit individuals with recently confirmed infection by SARS-Cov-2, who will undergo 2 visits, 3-6 months and 1 year after COVID-19 diagnosis. During the visit, assessment of carotid-femoral PWV and central haemodynamics will be performed. Ancillary studies will explore additional biomarkers of accelerated vascular ageing (carotid geometry and stiffness, endothelial function, 24-h central blood pressure, small artery remodelling). Standard-operating procedure will be provided to all centers.

Moreover, a long-term (5 and 10-year) clinical follow-up will be planned, to evaluate the risk of CV events related to arterial stiffness and central haemodynamics in COVID-19 survivors.

Data collection will be centralised on an central electronic REDCap database, hosted by INSERM U970 (Paris, France). A user account with the appropriate user rights will be provided by the Principal Investigators once approval from the ethical committee is obtained. Any paper CRF must be transferred to the central REDCap database.

Disease-related information will be collected according to the standards of the WHO-ISARIC initiative for the patients who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 (

 Study funding

The study will be supported by a grant from the Artery Society, covering administrative expenses for the initiation of the study (e.g., fees for submission to the ethical committee) for participating centres. If the number of centers willing to participate exceeds the allocated budget, priority will be given to centers with the greatest recruitment capacity. Any center fulfilling the requirements can participate in the study at its own expenses.

Principal Investigators

Rosa Maria Bruno and Pierre Boutouyrie (Pharmacology Unit, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou – APHP, Paris, France)

Scientific committee

Prof. Pierre Boutouyrie, Paris, France

Prof. Thomas Weber, Wels, Austria

Prof. Chakravarthi Rajkumar, Brighton, UK

Prof. Alun Hughes, London, UK

Dr. Rosa Maria Bruno, Paris, France

Dr. Tine Willum Hansen, Gentofte, Denmark

Dr. Bart Spronck, New Haven, United States

Dr. Bernhard Hametner, Vienna, Austria

Dr. Dimitrios Terentes-Printzios, Athens, Greece

Dr. Christopher C. Mayer, Vienna, Austria

Prof. Patrick Lacolley, Nancy, France


Requirements for participating centers

If your centre is willing to adhere to this research group, the following criteria must be met:

  • Being a member of the Artery Society
  • Approval for conducting the research by the local ethical committee. The document of approval must be provided to the Principal Investigators.
  • Rapid recruitment start, ideally before June 30th, 2020
  • Possession of validated devices to perform the mandatory vascular tests:
    • Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV)
    • Non-invasive aortic blood pressure (aoBP)

We do encourage measurement of additional vascular function parameters, but to ensure center inclusiveness, only cfPWV and aoBP are mandatory.

How to join?

Please click here to complete the online manifestation of interest form. You will receive all the updates on this project.