GOUT has been linked to increased risk of incident heart failure in older adults according to a recent study by Dr Lisandro Colantonio and colleagues at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Previous studies have associated gout to higher risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, but data on its link to incident heart failure is lacking.
Dr Colantonio and his team evaluated data from 5,713 men and women aged ≥65.5 years in the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort study. Of the participants, all were without history of heart failure, chronic heart disease, or stroke; the mean baseline age was 72.6 years; and 3.3% had gout. Gout, consisting of inflammation episodes in joints and tissues, was defined as ≥1 hospitalisation or ≥2 outpatient visits, alongside a gout diagnosis in Medicare claims.
Over a follow-up of 10 years, data showed that incident rates per 1,000 person-years for individuals with and without gout was 13.1 and 4.4 for heart failure hospitalisation, 16.0 and 9.3 for chronic heart disease, 9.3 and 8.2 for stroke, and 55.0 and 37.1 for all-cause mortality, respectively. After the researchers used multivariable adjustment for sociodemographic variables and cardiovascular risk factors, Dr Colantonio reported that: “Older adults with gout were more likely to develop heart failure compared to those without gout.”
Conversely, gout was not associated with an increased risk for incident coronary heart disease, stroke, or all-cause mortality. “Based on these results, it is important that older adults with gout receive medical advice about their risk of having heart failure and how to lower it,” said Dr Colantonio. He also advised that clinicians be vigilant of initial signs of heart failure in older patients with gout, so that they may be treated earlier.