Objectives: To describe the national demographics, comorbidities and mortality of admissions associated with gout in New Zealand (NZ) from 1999 to 2009 and compare this with English gout admission data from the same period.
Methods: The characteristics of all admissions due to or complicated by gout in NZ from 1999 to 2009 were analysed. These findings were then compared with the wider NZ population and the English National Health Service (NHS) gout admission rates from 1999 to 2009.
Results: There were 10 241 admissions due to gout (group A) and 34 318 admissions complicated by gout (group B) in NZ from 1999 to 2009. There were 32 741 admissions due to gout in England over the same period. Gout admissions rose at 5.5% per year in NZ and at 7.2% per year in England over the study period. NZ gout patients admitted to hospital were more likely to be Māori or a Pacific Islander and had 3-7 comorbidities. Multiple admissions were common with 1479 NZ gout patients admitted more than once. Comorbidities varied between the NZ groups A and B: hypertension (19-39%), renal disease (16-27%) and diabetes mellitus (20-27%) were common. Heart failure (27.6%) and cardiovascular disease (39.1%) were common in those who had gout complicating their hospital admission. This group also had poorer survival compared with those admitted primarily for gout.
Conclusion: This is the first study to describe the epidemiology of admissions associated with gout across an entire country. Admissions are rising in both countries studied and those admitted in NZ have a high rate of comorbidity and re-admission.