Association of a Community Population and Clinic Education Intervention Program With Guideline-Based Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Nonrandomized Controlled Trial

Russell V. Luepker, Milton Eder, John R. Finnegan, Jeremy R. Van't Hof, Niki Oldenburg, Sue Duval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: Low-dose aspirin is used for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in approximately one-third of the US adult population. Overuse and underuse are common and not concordant with guidelines.

Objective: To test a community and clinic education intervention to improve guideline-based aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Ask About Aspirin project was a nonrandomized controlled trial conducted from, July 1, 2015, to March 31, 2020, using professional education, traditional media, and digital media to improve guideline-based aspirin use. The adult population (aged 45-79 years for men and 55-79 years for women) and primary care clinics in Minnesota were the education targets. The 4 adjacent states were controls.

Interventions: The statewide campaign distributed billboards, newspaper articles and other print material, and radio announcements. An Ask About Aspirin website was heavily promoted. Primary care clinics identified appropriate aspirin candidates, and clinicians received continuing education about aspirin.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Guideline-based aspirin use by the target population.

Results: Cross-sectional random telephone surveys of 8342 men aged 45 to 79 years and women aged 55 to 79 years were conducted at baseline, 2 years, and 4 years after the intervention. Participation was similar between men and women (baseline: 973 [49%] vs 1001 [51%]; year 4: 912 [50%] vs 930 [50%]). Age during the study also was similar (baseline: 64.7 [IQR, 64.4-65.1] years; year 4: 66.2 [IQR, 65.8-66.5] years). A validated questionnaire evaluated aspirin use. The Ask About Aspirin website had more than 1 million visits; 124 primary care clinics with more than 1000 participating clinicians were part of the education program. Small, nonsignificant increases in discussions with clinicians regarding aspirin resulted (baseline: 341 of 1001 [34%]; year 4: 339 of 930 [36%]; P = .27). Overall aspirin use decreased after the release of new US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines in 2016 and 3 aspirin randomized clinical trials in 2018 suggested reduced aspirin use (baseline: 816 of 1974 [41%]; year 4: 629 of 1842 [34%]; P < .001). Decreases were also noted from year 2 to year 4 in appropriate use (year 2: 597 of 1208 [49%]; year 4: 478 of 1191 [40%]; P < .001) and overuse (year 2: 170 of 602 [28%]; year 4: 151 of 651 [23%]; P = .04). There were no significant differences between Minnesota and the control states.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this nonrandomized controlled trial, a multiyear statewide campaign was not associated with increased appropriate aspirin use for cardiovascular disease prevention. Contextual factors during the project, including guideline changes and media controversy following the new trials, undermined study goals. These findings suggest that although education programs using social media for cardiovascular disease prevention can result in millions of hits, the use of this strategy to encourage behavior change is problematic, even with supportive clinical sites.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02607917.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2211107
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number5
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.


  • Adult
  • Aspirin/therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Primary Prevention

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of a Community Population and Clinic Education Intervention Program With Guideline-Based Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Nonrandomized Controlled Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this