Reference range of serum uric acid and prevalence of hyperuricemia: a cross-sectional study from baseline data of ELSA-Brasil cohort

Adv Rheumatol. 2022 May 8;62(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s42358-022-00246-3.


Background: Most of the few studies that have established reference ranges for serum uric acid (SUA) have not taken into account factors which may interfere with its levels and followed rigorous laboratory quality standards. The aim of this study was to establish reference ranges for SUA and determine the prevalence of hyperuricemia.

Method: Cross-sectional study including 15,100 participants (all sample) aged 35 to 74 years from baseline data of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), a multicentric cohort of volunteer civil servants from five universities and one research institute located in different regions of Brazil. It was established a reference sample excluding participants with factors that directly influence SUA levels: glomerular filtration rate lower than 60 ml/min, excessive alcohol intake, use of diuretics, aspirin, estrogen or urate-lowering therapy. SUA was measured using the uricase method and following rigorous international quality standards. Reference ranges were defined as values between percentiles 2.5 (P2.5) and 97.5 (P97.5) of SUA distribution in the reference sample, stratified by sex. Hyperuricemia was defined as SUA ≥ 7 mg/100 ml in the all sample.

Results: The reference sample was composed of 10,340 individuals (55.3% women, median age 50 years). Reference ranges (P2.5 to P97.5) for SUA were: 4.0 to 9.2 mg/100 ml for men and 2.8 to 6.9 mg/100 ml for women. Sex was a major determinant for SUA levels (median [IQR], mg/100 ml: 6.1 [5.3-7.0] for men versus 4.5 [3.9-5.3] for women, p < 0.001). Higher levels of SUA were found in patients with higher BMI. Higher age had (a modest) influence only for women. The prevalence of hyperuricemia for all sample (N = 15,100) was 31.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 30.8-33.0%) in men and 4.8% (95% CI 4.3-5.3%) in women.

Conclusion: SUA reference ranges were 4.0 to 9.2 mg/100 ml for men and 2.8 to 6.9 mg/100 ml for women. Prevalence of hyperuricemia was 31.9% in men and 4.8% in women. Updated SUA reference ranges and prevalence of hyperuricemia are higher nowadays and might be used to guide laboratories and the screening for diseases related to SUA.

Keywords: Hyperuricemia; Reference range; Serum uric acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia* / diagnosis
  • Hyperuricemia* / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Values
  • Uric Acid


  • Uric Acid