In 2014-2015, we conducted the NORCOR cross-sectional study, which included over 1100 patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction or stable/unstable angina at Drammen Hospital and Vestfold Hospital from 2011-2014. We documented previous illnesses, medication use, risk factors, participation in cardiac rehabilitation, and planned follow-up from hospital discharge summaries. Patients also completed a comprehensive questionnaire on education, employment, lifestyle, behavior, cardiac medications and adherence, motivation, disease understanding, quality of life, and psychological factors. They participated in a clinical examination (height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure), provided blood samples (cholesterol, heart, and inflammatory markers), and saliva samples for genetic analysis. Blood samples from half of the patients were stored in our biobank for future analysis.

During the same period, we conducted in-depth interviews with a random sample of general practitioners (n = 35) from eight medical practices who followed up with patients participating in the cross-sectional study. Through a SWOT analysis, we gathered information on the GPs’ views on their strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities in following up with patients who had experienced myocardial infarction. We also reviewed hospital discharge summaries from Drammen Hospital and Vestfold Hospital, documenting relevant information on cardiovascular risk factors and preventive treatment goals for patients with coronary heart disease.

Participants in the NORCOR cross-sectional study were followed up, and in 2019 and 2021, we collected information on new cardiovascular events and deaths from hospital records for all patients who participated in the cross-sectional study. Additionally, over 700 patients completed a new questionnaire on lifestyle, behavior, follow-up with their GP, quality of life, and psychological factors in 2019.

In 2022, we linked data from the cross-sectional study with information on new cardiovascular events and deaths to the national prescription register. This provides us with knowledge about the dispensing of cardiovascular medications, including cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure-lowering, antiplatelet, and anticoagulant medications, as well as medications for anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders from pharmacies. This dataset also allows us to study medication adherence in patients with coronary heart disease. Data on direct concentration measurements of cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) from biobanked blood will also be compared with pharmacy dispensing data.

The project has so far resulted in two completed PhD degrees, two master’s theses, and one postdoctoral project. Data from the project have also contributed to another completed PhD degree and four ongoing PhD projects.