Background: Gout is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but it is not clear whether this risk is intrinsic to gout itself or to underlying comorbidities. Although the impact of gout on CVD has been studied previously, the results have been conflicting and studies from European countries are scarce.
Objectives: To investigate the risk of first-time acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients with incident gout in western Sweden, compared to the general population.
Methods: Using data from the population-based health care database VEGA, we identified all patients with incident gout diagnosis at either primary or specialized health care units in western Sweden, in the period 2007– 2017 (20,287 cases; mean age, 65.6 years; 67.4% males). Cases regarded as incident, if they did not have any recorded diagnosis of gout in the previous seven years. For each case, up to five controls matched on age, sex, and county at the date of first gout diagnosis were identified from the census register (84,240 controls). Cases and controls with prior history of ischemic heart disease were excluded. The follow-up began at the first diagnosis of gout, and ended at the earliest of an ACS event, emigration, death, or 31 December 2017. To estimate the risk of first-time ACS, we used incident rate (IR) and univariable and multivariable Cox regression analysis with adjustments for the following cardiovascular risk factors: the diagnoses of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity, renal disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, psoriasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, alcoholism, cancer, cerebrovascular, and atherosclerotic disease, as well as for the dispensed prescriptions of statins, anticoagulants, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-obesity, and vasodilator drugs.
Results: The IR of first-time ACS was 9.0 events per 1,000 person-years in the gout cohort, compared to 6.3 in the control cohort. The IRs were lower for women than men, both in the gout (IR, 8.2 vs 9.4) and in the control cohort (IR, 5.0 vs 7.0). Univariable analysis showed that patients with gout have a higher risk of first-time ACS, as compared to the general population (Figure 1, Table 1), but the increased risk is largely diminished after adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors (Table 1).
Conclusion: Patients with incident gout have a 43% higher risk of first-time ACS, as compared to the general population. This increased risk is largely explained by the increased occurrence of comorbidities in gout, but there is still a modestly increased risk that may be due to gout related factors. Our results underline the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment and the need for appropriate management of the underlying cardiovascular risk factors in patients with gout.
Disclosure of Interests: None declared
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