Background: There are limited data available on the association of gouty arthritis (gout) in middle age with long-term cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.
Methods: We performed a 17-year follow-up study of 9105 men, aged 41 to 63 years and at above-average risk for coronary heart disease, who were randomized to the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial and who did not die or have clinical or electrocardiographic evidence of coronary artery disease during the 6-year trial. Risk of CVD death and other causes subsequent to the sixth annual examination associated with gout was assessed by means of Cox proportional hazards regressions.
Results: The unadjusted mortality rates from CVD among those with and without gout were 10.3 per 1000 person-years and 8.0 per 1000 person-years, respectively, representing an approximately 30% greater risk. After adjustment for traditional risk factors, use of diuretics and aspirin, and serum creatinine level, the hazard ratio (gout vs no gout) for coronary heart disease mortality was 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.72). The hazard ratio for death from myocardial infarction was 1.35 (95% CI, 0.94-1.93); for death from CVD overall, 1.21 (95% CI, 0.99-1.49); and for death from any cause, 1.09 (95% CI, 1.00-1.19) (P = .04). The association between hyperuricemia and CVD was weak and did not persist when analysis was limited to men with hyperuricemia without a diagnosis of gout.
Conclusion: Among middle-aged men, a diagnosis of gout accompanied by an elevated uric acid level imparts significant independent CVD mortality risk.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00000487.