Gout as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke in England: evidence from record linkage studies

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Dec;52(12):2251-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket293. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


Objective: Some studies suggest that gout is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. There is more evidence about the association between gout and acute myocardial infarction (MI) than about gout and stroke, and only limited information about risks by age group and sex. We aimed to study MI and stroke following gout, including types of stroke, by age group and comparing men and women.

Methods: We analysed an all-England national linked dataset of hospital admissions and death records from 1999 to 2011, and a similar dataset in the Oxford Record Linkage Study spanning 1963-98. The occurrence of MI and stroke was estimated in cohorts of patients admitted to hospital with gout, compared with MI and stroke in control cohorts, and the comparisons were expressed as rate ratios (RRs).

Results: The risk of MI and stroke was elevated, and similar, in both datasets. In the all-England dataset, which included 202 033 hospital patients with gout, the RR for MI following gout was 1.82 (95% CI 1.78, 1.85), for all stroke 1.71 (1.68, 1.75), ischaemic stroke 1.68 (1.64, 1.73), haemorrhagic stroke 1.69 (1.61, 1.77) and stroke of unspecified type 2.00 (1.95, 2.06). Associations were stronger in younger than older age groups, and in the younger were stronger in women than men.

Conclusion: Gout was associated with increased risk of stroke as well as MI. These findings should be considered by clinicians and may have implications for preventive management of circulatory disease risks in people with gout.

Keywords: MI; acute stroke; gout; record linkage; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gout / complications*
  • Gout / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Young Adult