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The Monica Iceland Study
THE MONICA ICELAND STUDY: The Heart Registry of The Icelandic Heart Association
Vilmundur Guðnason, Principal investigator, Jóhanna Gunnlaugsdóttir CO-PI, Thor Aspelund Co-PI

The MONICA project of the World Health Organization (WHO) (multinational MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease) was established to clarify the reasons for the differences in mortality trends of coronary heart disease, which in the 1970s were declining in several countries, but constant or rising in many others.  The reason for these differences in mortality trends were not clear since the changes might be caused by decline in the disease incidence or by better survival of those affected.  Data on morbidity and risk factors were scarce or patchy and were not being collected in a uniform manner.

Methodology developed for the research project is being used as an information system for cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases prevention and control programs.

The object of the project is to measure the trends and determinants in cardiovascular mortality and coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease morbidity and to assess the extent to which these trends are related to changes in known risk factors, daily living habits, health care, or major socioeconomic features measured at the same time in defined communities in different countries. The MONICA collaborating centers were 41 in 28 countries.

Below are the main parts of the project and which time periods have been covered:

Coronary event registration. All fatal and nonfatal cases aged 25-74, 1981-2004.
All nonfatal cases in Reykjavik study 1967-2004

Risk factor screening. A sample of 3000 people aged 25-74 are invited to participate in the project in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the projects´s period, 1983, 1988-1989 and 1993.  

Acute coronary care. 500 (continuous) cases in the beginning and at the end of the project´s period, 1982-1983 and 1990-1992.

The IHA was assigned by the Icelandic public health authorities (Directorate of Health) to lead the project in Iceland. When the collaboration with WHO finished in 1995 it was decided with the Directorate of Health to continue the registration of coronary events in the light of importance for health authorities.


When the data registration collaboration of WHO finished, conclusions were published in MONICA  Monograph  and Multimedia Sourcebook, in September 2003

Coverage of WHO's cardiovascular diseases is here 


The Iceland specific figures can be found at at The Directorate of Health

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