Objectives: To investigate the clinical characteristics and risk factors of gout attacks that develop during the postsurgical period.
Methods: We enrolled 67 patients with gout who developed postsurgical gout and 67 controls who had histories of gout but did not develop gout attacks after surgery. Features of the postsurgical gout attacks were analysed and compared to those of presurgical gout attacks suffered by patients and controls. Demographics, medical backgrounds, laboratory data and surgical factors were compared between patients and controls in order to establish risk factors associated with postsurgical gout.
Results: The mean (SD) time interval to develop postsurgical gout was 4.2 (3.1) days. The attacks tended to involve lower extremity joints (65/67, 97.0%), usually the first metatarsophalangeal joint (42/67, 62.7%), and to affect more than one joint (34/67, 50.7%). The number of attacked joints was positively correlated with the total number of previously involved joints (r = 0.281, p = 0.026). The site of attacks had a preference for the previously affected sites. A history of cancer surgery (p = 0.002), elevated presurgical serum urate levels (⩾9 mg/dl; p = 0.002) and failure to administer colchicine prophylaxis (p = 0.008) were found to be risk factors for postsurgical gout.
Conclusions: Postsurgical gout tends to develop within 8 days after surgery. The site and number of involved joints reflect the features of gout attacks the patient suffered before surgery. Adequate presurgical control of serum uric acid levels and/or prophylactic administration of colchicine will help prevent gout attacks during the postsurgical period.
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