MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) is a large-scale cardiovascular population study (>6,500 participants) conducted in six centres in the USA. It aims to investigate the manifestation of subclinical to clinical cardiovascular disease before signs and symptoms develop. Since MESA participants were determined as healthy during recruitment, patients of this data are identified as asymptomatic subjects. The overall demographics of the MESA study were men and women aged 45-84 years from heterogeneous US population of White, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese ethnicity.

MR protocols

This data set is the baseline cardiac MRI study which was acquired using 1.5T MR scanner. All imaging examinations used a four-element phased-array surface coil placed anterior and posterior, ECG gating, and brachial artery blood pressure monitoring. Cine functional images were obtained by an ECG-triggered segmented k-space fast gradient-echo (FLASH) pulse sequence with 12 to 18 second breathholds. Typical cine parameters were: slice thickness 6 mm, gap 4 mm, field of view 360-400 mm, matrix 256×160, flip angle 20°, TE 3-5 ms, TR 8-10 ms, and flow compensation. For a subset of the MESA participants (~2,200 cases) 3 tagged short-axis slices were also obtained [80]. Parallel stripe tags were prescribed in 2 orthogonal orientations (0° and 90°) using the same imaging pulse sequence with additional spatial modulation of magnetization encoding gradients. Typical parameters for tagged images were: field of view 400 mm; slice thickness 8 to 10 mm; TR 6 ms (range, 3.5 to 7.2 ms); TE 3.0 ms (range, 2.0 to 4.2 ms); flip angle, 12°; matrix size, 256×96 to 140; phase-encoding views per segment, 4 to 9; and tag spacing, 7 mm. With these parameters, 19 to 27 phases per cycle were acquired, yielding a temporal resolution of 40 ms (range, 20 to 41 ms).

Please note that all MR images were acquired by using GRE protocol.


Data sharing is provided by the MESA study through their ancillary studies and publication protocols. The Cardiac Atlas Project is one of official MESA ancillary site to share cardiac MRI cases through an approval process by the MESA Steering Committee. Approval has been given by the MESA steering committee (subject to IRB approval of the Field Centers) to include de-identified images, functional analyses including ventricular contours, and associated variables into the CAP database, in compliance with HIPAA protocol.

The CAP database contains cardiac MRI studies from 2,450 MESA subjects (1,167 male / 1,251 female) and 200 of them have 3D left ventricular finite element models. The associated variables will be limited to: age (years), gender (M/F), height (cm), weight (kg), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mmHg), hypertension (y/n), heart rate (bpm), race/ethnicity (class), diabetes (class), smoking (y/n), alcohol (y/n), ECG (class). Other clinical data, including the original ECG waveforms, will be available via the MESA Ancillary Study mechanism.

In the database: MESA cases are identified by a prefix MES

Data contributors

  1. David A. Bluemke – National Institutes of Health, USA
  2. Joao Lima – John Hopkins University, USA

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