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Karen Schliep's New ARCHES Study Aims to Unravel the Link Between Endometriosis and Cardiovascular Disease

NEWS Karen Schliep

Endometriosis is a common and often painful gynecological condition that affects approximately 11% of women. It has long been associated with various health concerns, but the most recent research by Karen Schliep, PhD, MSPH, in collaboration with an esteemed team of experts, aims to shed light on a previously underexplored aspect of endometriosis: its potential link to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The project, appropriately named ARCHES (Association Between Reproductive Conditions and Heart and Endometriosis Studies), is a study initiated in May 2023. Its primary objective is to investigate the intricate relationship between endometriosis and the risk of clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease.

Karen Schliep's ARCHES study addresses these limitations by harnessing data from two existing cohorts: the Utah Population Database (Population Cohort) and the NICHD ENDO study (Research Cohort).

The ARCHES study has four key aims:

Aim 1: Determine whether women with a history of endometriosis have an increased risk of a composite CVD outcome and its components compared to women without endometriosis.

Aim 2: Examine whether the risk of composite CVD outcome and its components varies by endometriosis subtype, including deep infiltrating, endometriomas, and superficial.

Aim 3: Investigate if endometriosis increases the risk of subclinical CVD, as measured by CVD risk scores, cardiac CT scans, and brain MRIs.

Aim 4: Determine if endometriosis mediates the relationship between a young adult's atherogenic profile and mid-life CVD.

These aims aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of how endometriosis may influence cardiovascular health. The study's findings could have profound implications for women's health guidelines, leading to improved prevention, screening, early detection, and treatment of CVD risk factors among women with endometriosis.

Dr. Karen Schliep collaborates with a diverse team of experts, including Dr. Leslie Farland from the University of Arizona, UU OBGYN, UU Neurology, Intermountain Health, Brigham Women’s Hospital/Harvard, and George Mason University. Their combined efforts will ensure the study's success and contribute significantly to our knowledge of the relationship between endometriosis and cardiovascular disease.

The ARCHES study is expected to run for five years, concluding in May 2028. Its kick-off meeting is scheduled for October 23rd, and researchers hope to garner significant insights into the impact of endometriosis on women's cardiovascular health, ultimately benefiting women across their lifespans.