Background Gout is the most common arthritic disease in the world with increasing incidence and prevalence. There are differences in gout prevalence and course of disease due to cultural, ethnical and genetic factors stressing the need for data from different parts of the world. An increase in hospitalization for gout has been shown for the last two decades in North America.
Objectives We evaluated the trend for hospitalization of gout in western Sweden 2000 – 2012 and the health care costs for this 2009 – 2012.
Methods Hospitalization trends for gout were studied using data from the health care consumption register in the Western Swedish Health Care Region (WSHCR) from 2000–01–01 through 2012–12–31. This area is considered to be representative for the country as a whole. Patients aged 18 years and older who were hospitalized during the study period with a principal ICD-10 diagnosis of gout (M10) at discharge were included. We calculated annual population rates for hospitalization for gout. Inflation-adjusted health care costs for the gout hospitalizations were calculated using the Cost-Per-Patient register (CPP). Dispensation of urate lowering therapy (ULT), allopurinol (M04AA01) and probenecid (M04AB01), within 6 months prior to hospitalization was identified using The Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.
Results There were 1873 hospitalizations for gout (mean age 75.0–77.6 years, 61–74% men) between 2000 and 2012. Demographic characteristics were similar over the study period. From 2000 to 2012, the annual hospitalization rate for gout increased from 12.2 to 16.7 per 100 000 adults (p=0.0038). The increase was most pronounced in males aged 65 and above and over the last three years of the study. From 2009 to 2012 the inflation-adjusted health care costs for gout hospitalizations increased from 5.21 to 8.15 105 USD. The duration of hospitalizations also increased from 3 to 5 days median 2000 and 2012 respectively (p=0.021). Only a minority of patients, 19 to 27%, received ULT the 6 months preceding their hospitalization, without any obvious secular trend.
Conclusions Incidence of hospitalization for primary gout is increasing substantially in Sweden over the last decade and this is reflected in the health care costs. The main part of this increase consists of males aged 65 and above. Only a fourth of the patients were on ULT preceding the hospitalization. These findings are further emphasized by the fact that the total amount of days for somatic inpatient care in WSHCR decreased by 9% from 2002 (1 267 900 days, mean duration 5,7 days) to 2012 (1 151 630 days, mean duration 4,9 days). The findings in this study reflects increasing incidence of the gout disease and an ageing population but also a considerable lack of treatment.
Disclosure of Interest None declared