Many investigators want to use the ARIC surveillance data to study trends in rates of certain events over time. Such analyses can improve our understanding of changes in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, including health disparities.
However, the ARIC study used a complex survey sampling procedure (much like the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES), in order to obtain statistically reliable estimates while optimizing resources, including time and money. Many investigators are not familiar with these methods. Lack of knowledge can lead to frustration and false starts, or simply moving on from a worthy project because it was too much trouble.
This guide will demystify trends analyses in ARIC using R software, which is freely available and can accomplish all of the analyses someone would want to do with ARIC surveillance data.
Because it is free, students, residents, fellows, and MPH students are able to complete short-term projects without requiring expensive software.
We hope this guide leads to more manuscripts on ARIC surveillance data, as well as helps investigators understand a new type of analysis.