“Often, the treatment of gout focuses on alleviating the symptoms of painful gout flares. However, when escalating symptoms reach the threshold of an ED visit, this [result] suggests that the underlying accumulation of uric acid may not have been adequately addressed,” explains Dr. Singh in a press release.4
For the study, Dr. Singh and colleagues evaluated data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Samples (NEDS). Over the nine-year period, they found 1.7 million people visited EDs with a primary diagnosis of acute gout. Researchers calculated the prevalence of ED visits with a primary diagnosis of gout increased from 56.5/100,000 population in 2006 to 67/100,000 in 2014 (P<0.001). They also found men accounted for 78% of the ED visits in both 2006 and 2014.
The increase in such a common condition will likely have a growing effect on the healthcare and public health systems. Dr. Singh and colleagues call for improved recognition of the burden of gout in the hope such recognition will translate into earlier diagnosis and more active management. Improved long-term management of gout may help minimize the effect of gout on the healthcare system.