The disease burden of inpatient gout has not been reported. Using a discharge diagnosis database and individual case record review, 77 patients who developed acute gout complicating a hospital admission for another reason were identified between January 2001 and April 2010 at The Townsville Hospital. A control group of 28 301 cases with identical principal diagnoses were similarly ascertained, along with a subgroup of 231 cases matched for age, gender and ethnicity. Patients with an admission complicated by acute gout stayed 6 days longer in hospital than matched control patients (9 days vs 3 days, P = 0.0005) with the same principal diagnoses and demographics. Patients with an attack of gout were more likely to be older, male or indigenous. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment may help to reduce the healthcare costs of this overlooked disease.
© 2012 The Authors; Internal Medicine Journal © 2012 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.