Background Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritic disease worldwide. The prevalence varies due to cultural, ethnical and genetic differences in populations, which emphasizes the need for national/regional data on occurrence. While there are several studies on the prevalence of gout only few have addressed the incidence of gout and there are no contemporary studies in Sweden and the neighbouring Nordic countries.
Objectives In the present study we measured the incidence of gout in 2012 and its trends from 2004 to 2012 in the Western Swedish Health Care Region (WSHCR) in Sweden.
Methods We identified all incident cases of gout from 2004 through 2012 through VEGA, a diagnosis register covering all visits to physicians in primary and secondary care and hospitalizations in WSHCR. WSHCR has 1 600 000 inhabitants, roughly 20% of the population of Sweden, and is representative for the country as a whole with regard to demographics and health status.
For the analyses of incidence trends an incident case of gout was defined as having a visit with a first ICD-10 diagnosis of gout (M10, M14) not preceded by a diagnosis of gout for the three calendar years before. Cumulative incidence per year was calculated using the number of incident gout cases aged 20 and above by calendar year (from 2004 to 2012) as the numerator and the total person-years aged 20 and above of WSHCR by the end of each year as the denominator. We calculated standardized estimates (direct method) using the whole Swedish population aged ≥20 years in 2012 as standard population Calculation of incidence trend was performed using logistic regression. Incidence in 2012 was based on cases with their first diagnosis of gout 2012 without any such diagnosis during the12 preceding years (2000–2011). All cases were linked to Statistics Sweden (for death and possible emigration before Dec 2012).
Results The incidence of gout increased steadily and significantly (p for trend <0.001) from 2004 to 2012 with a 50% increase in the total population. The male to female ratio of gout incidence was consistently two to three fold from 2004 to 2012 (Fig. 1). The incidence of gout in Sweden 2012 was 190 cases per 100 000 person-years.
Conclusions Gout is an increasing health care problem all over the world and also in western Sweden where the incidence of gout increased significantly over the last decade being approximately three times higher than that for rheumatoid arthritis. This increase might reflect changes in the disease panoramic and cultural changes.
Disclosure of Interest None declared