High Mortality Rates for Gout Steady Over 16 Years


Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are both associated with premature mortality, researchers report.

Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are both associated with premature mortality, researchers report.

“This population-based cohort study indicates that the level of excess mortality among gout patients remains unchanged over the past 16 years, contrasting the aforementioned substantial reduction in excess mortality observed among RA patients during the same period,” writes Sharan K. Rai, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Rai presented her findings on Nov. 16 at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting held in Washington, D.C.

While a recent study showed a decrease in premature deaths for rheumatoid arthritis patients, there’s a dearth of similar data for gout patients. Dr. Rai and colleagues questioned whether there were changes in gout data trends for premature mortality as well.

Previously, Dr. Rai published a study looking at mortality trends for rheumatoid arthritis patients, from 1999-2014. For this research on gout patients, they used the same time period and the same electronic medical records database, representative of the UK general population. One cohort of patients was diagnosed with gout between 1996-2006 (“early”) and the other was diagnosed between 2007-2014 (“late”). They included gout patients who had at least one prescription, for colchicine or a urate-lowering therapy. Both the early and late cohorts had the same mean age of 62 years and they were both about 74% male.

Researchers found that both early and late groups were found to have “excess” mortality levels that were similar to their corresponding general population cohorts, the control groups without gout. This meant there was no improvement in managing gout and its comorbidities during the entire study period.  Dr. Rai and her colleagues compared this finding to their study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, who did show a substantial reduction in excess mortality during that time frame, likely due to improved care of the disease. The researchers reported that gout patients needed better management of their disease and its comorbidities, to decrease the excess mortality rate.



Sharan K. Rai. "Secular Trend of Premature Mortality in Gout: A Contrast from Rheumatoid Arthritis," Abstract number 3125. 9 a.m., Nov. 16, 2016. ACR/ARHP 2016 Annual Meeting.


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