The unclosing premature mortality gap in gout: a general population-based study

Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Jul;76(7):1289-1294. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210588. Epub 2017 Jan 25.


Objective: Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis, is associated with premature mortality. Whether this mortality gap has improved over time, as observed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is unknown.

Methods: Using an electronic medical record database representative of the UK general population, we identified incident gout cases and controls between 1999 and 2014. The gout cohort was divided based on year of diagnosis into early (1999-2006) and late (2007-2014) cohorts. We compared the mortality rates and HRs, adjusting for potential confounders between the cohorts. We conducted sensitivity analyses among patients with gout who received at least one prescription for urate-lowering therapy, which has been found to have a validity of 90%.

Results: In both cohorts, patients with gout showed similar levels of excess mortality compared with their corresponding comparison cohort (ie, 29.1 vs 23.5 deaths/1000 person-years and 23.0 vs 18.8 deaths/1000 person-years in the early and late cohorts, respectively). The corresponding mortality HRs were 1.25 (95% CI 1.21 to 1.30) and 1.24 (95% CI 1.20 to 1.29), and the multivariable HRs were 1.10 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.15) and 1.09 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.13), respectively (both p values for interaction >0.72). Our sensitivity analyses showed similar findings (both p values for interaction >0.88).

Conclusions: This general population-based cohort study indicates that the level of premature mortality among patients with gout remains unimproved over the past 16 years, unlike RA during the same period. This unclosing premature mortality gap calls for improved management of gout and its comorbidities.

Keywords: Arthritis; Epidemiology; Gout.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Gout / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality, Premature / trends*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology