Objective: gout is often defined by self-report in epidemiologic studies. Yet the validity of self-reported gout is uncertain. We evaluated the reliability and sensitivity of the self-report of physician-diagnosed gout in the Campaign Against Cancer and Heart Disease (CLUE II) and the Atherosclerosis Risk in the Community (ARIC) cohorts.
Methods: the CLUE II cohort comprises 12,912 individuals who self-reported gout status on either the 2000, 2003, or 2007 questionnaires. We calculated reliability as the percentage of participants reporting having gout on more than 1 questionnaire using Cohen's κ statistic. The ARIC cohort comprises 11,506 individuals who self-reported gout status at visit 4. We considered a hospital discharge diagnosis of gout or use of a gout-specific medication as the standard against which to calculate the sensitivity of self-reported, physician-diagnosed gout.
Results: of the 437 CLUE II participants who self-reported physician-diagnosed gout in 2000, and subsequently answered the 2003 questionnaire, 75% reported gout in 2003 (κ = 0.73). Of the 271 participants who reported gout in 2000, 73% again reported gout at the 2007 followup questionnaire (κ = 0.63). In ARIC, 196 participants met the definition for gout prior to visit 4 and self-reported their gout status at visit 4. The sensitivity of a self-report of physician-diagnosed gout was 84%. Accuracy was similar across sex and race subgroups, but differed across hyperuricemia and education strata.
Conclusion: these 2 population-based US cohorts suggest that self-report of physician-diagnosed gout has good reliability and sensitivity. Thus, self-report of a physician diagnosis of gout is appropriate for epidemiologic studies.