Acute gouty arthritis is seasonal

J Rheumatol. 1998 Feb;25(2):342-4.


Objective: Information regarding effect of weather conditions on gout is sparse. We conducted a study in the USA to examine whether gout is seasonal.

Methods: We reviewed synovial fluid (SF) analyses from our laboratory during 1990-1995 and identified 359 patients who had acute gouty attacks. All fluids of patients with acute gout had intracellular monosodium urate crystals and SF leukocyte counts > 2000/mm3 or more than 10 leukocytes per high power field (HPF). Retrospective chart review of all patients was performed to confirm a clinical picture of acute gout. A control group included 76 patients with acute pseudogout whose SF were analyzed during the same period and who had intracellular calcium pyrophosphate crystals and inflammatory leukocyte counts as in patients with gout.

Results: Acute gout was most common during the spring; n = 115 (32%). Ninety (25%) patients had acute gout attacks in the fall; 81 (23%) had acute attacks during the summer; 73 (20%) had acute attacks in the winter. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the overall frequency of acute gout during the months and seasons. Using ANOVA, there was no overall statistically significant difference in the incidence of gout per season (p = 0.07), although it approached statistical significance. Acute gouty attacks were more common in the spring compared with winter (p = 0.002) and summer (p = 0.015). There was a trend but no statistically significant difference compared with fall. Winter was the season in which the fewest acute gouty cases were seen, although it was not statistically significant. No seasonal difference was seen in the pseudogout group. There was no correlation between either mean monthly temperature or humidity and the incidence of acute gouty attacks.

Conclusion: Acute gout attacks are significantly more common in the spring. No seasonal variation was seen in patients with acute pseudogout attacks.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Arthritis, Gouty / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Gouty / epidemiology*
  • Chondrocalcinosis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons*
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology
  • United States