Oxford Vascular Study – OxVASC

The Oxford Vascular Study (OxVASC) is a large cohort of patients that have had a stroke, TIA or heart attack, and an age-matched comparison group, to investigate the causes and epidemiology of vascular events. Researchers ask questions around medical and family history, diet and other lifestyle factors, and look at similarities and differences between patients and healthy people. 

Specific objectives are to establish a cohort with the necessary clinical, imaging and follow-up data, with stored blood and DNA, to investigate why strokes and other events occur, to improve stroke prevention, and explore the efficacy of new treatments. 

Resource Details

  • Established in 2002, OXVASC is the first and only population-based study of all acute vascular events irrespective of age in the world.
  • The study has recruited 6000 patients, plus additional controls and non-vascular referrals, with core clinical, imaging, and follow up data with stored blood for add-on studies.
  • Truly population-based – rather than relying on volunteers – enabling conclusions to be drawn from the data without the otherwise ever-present problem of selection bias.
  • Controls recruited from the same population. OXVASC is seeking controls to support their studies.  Further information can be found by clicking on the ‘For Patients’ button here.
  • All acute MR brain and vascular imaging of transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke patients now takes place in the purpose built Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (AVIC). This generates more detailed imaging which allows for better recruitment of patients into studies and research trials. Over 400 patients have been scanned using this facility.


The results have already changed guidelines around the world on how patients with TIA (mini-strokes) are investigated and treated, having shown that the risk of major stroke in the next few days is very high, that those individuals at highest risk can be identified using a simple risk score, and that emergency treatment reduces this early risk of major stroke by as much as 80%.

OXVASC supports a wide range of projects; from large biomarker and genetic studies to long-term outcome studies.

Several non-stroke projects have also come to fruition, including detailed analyses of the incidence and outcome of acute coronary events, the first ever population-based study of the incidence and outcome of acute peripheral vascular events, and several studies of patient behaviour and the effectiveness of secondary prevention.


Address: Professor Peter Rothwell, Stroke Prevention Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences University of Oxford, Level 6, West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU. Tel: 01865 231601 or 231602 Fax: 01865 234629.