Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Feb 14;9:789414. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.789414. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: Chronic heart failure and hospital admissions are well-known risk factors for acute gouty arthritis. However, in-depth analyses of patients admitted for decompensated heart failure (DHF) who subsequently developed a gout attack are sparse. This study aims to characterize DHF patients who developed a gout attack during their inpatient treatment and describe potential risk factors, its consequences, and its management in the setting of heart failure exacerbation.
METHODS: Retrospective chart review of 50 patients with an admission diagnosis of DHF who subsequently experienced a gout attack during admission at a Swiss tertiary care hospital between 2018 and 2020. Patients with a refusal of the general research consent were excluded (n = 10).
RESULTS: A gout attack developed in 66/1,832 (3.6%) DHF admissions of whom 50 individual patients were analyzed. Patients were predominately male (76%), of advanced age (median 80.5 years), with several comorbidities including chronic kidney disease (74%), comorbid gout (70%, only 43% on urate lowering therapy) and hyperuricemia (median 547 μmol/l, IQR 434-667 μmol/l). Diuretics were intensified in all patients. Acute gout presented as polyarticular arthritis (62%) and was often accompanied by fever (30%). Joint aspiration was performed in 32%, and intra-articular steroid injections administered in 20% of patients. Median length of stay and 6-month mortality were 16 days (IQR 12-25) and 32%, respectively, compared to 9 days (IQR 6-14) and 16% for DHF patients without a gout attack.
CONCLUSION: Our study highlights features of gout attacks in the context of DHF including the absence of comorbid gout in a significant proportion of patients, the presence of polyarticular disease during the flare, and a poor prognosis. The present study identifies the necessity to better address gout as a comorbidity in DHF patients and may assist clinicians in identifying DHF patients at risk for a gout attack.