Patients with gout and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience strikingly different health outcomes. Although U.S. patients with RA have enjoyed improvements in care, gout care remains largely suboptimal. This difference is reflected in a new study that reveals that the U.S. has experienced large, but disparate, changes in the rate at which patients are hospitalized for gout and RA.
Also by this Author
Sian Yik Lim, MD, a rheumatology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues published their analysis of hospitalization trends in the June 7 issue of JAMA.1 They documented gout and RA hospitalizations in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011. During this time, the annual hospitalization rate with a principal discharge diagnosis of RA declined from 13.9 to 4.6 per 100,000 U.S. adults. In contrast, the hospitalization rate for patients with gout increased from 4.4 to 8.8 per 100,000 U.S. adults. Likewise, from 2001–2011, the inflation-adjusted hospital costs per 100,000 U.S. adults with a principal discharge diagnosis of RA declined from $83,101 to $55,988, whereas the cost of gout increased from $34,457 to $58,003.
Thus, the researchers described a “very important trend between two really major arthritis conditions,” explains co-author Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH, director of the Gout and Crystal Arthropathy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in an interview with The Rheumatologist. “One disease is improving so much; the other is not,” he adds.