Hospitalizations for Acute Gout: Process Mapping the Inpatient Journey and Identifying Predictors of Admission

Mark D. Russell*, Deepak Nagra, Benjamin D. Clarke, Sathiyaa Balachandran, April Buazon, Amy Boalch, Katie Bechman, Maryam A. Adas, Edward G. Alveyn, Andrew I. Rutherford, James B. Galloway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective. To identify predictors of admission following emergency department (ED) attendances for gout flares and to describe barriers to optimal inpatient gout care. Methods. ED attendances and hospital admissions with primary diagnoses of gout were analyzed at 2 UK-based hospitals between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020. Demographic and clinical predictors of ED disposition (admission or discharge) and reattendance for gout flares were identified using logistic regression and survival models, respectively. Case note reviews (n = 59), stakeholder meetings, and process mapping were performed to capture detailed information on gout management and to identify strategies to optimize care. Results. Of 1220 emergency attendances for gout flares, 23.5% required hospitalization (median length of stay: 3.6 days). Recurrent attendances for flares occurred in 10.4% of patients during the study period. In multivariate logistic regression models, significant predictors of admission from ED were older age, overnight ED arrival time, higher serum urate (SU), higher C-reactive protein, and higher total white cell count at presentation. Detailed case note reviews showed that only 22.6% of patients with preexisting gout were receiving urate-lowering therapy (ULT) at presentation. Initial diagnostic uncertainty was common, yet rheumatology input and synovial aspirates were rarely obtained. By 6 months postdischarge, 43.6% were receiving ULT; however, few patients had treat-to-target dose optimization, and only 9.1% achieved SU levels ≤ 360 µmol/L. Conclusion. We identified multiple predictors of hospitalization for acute gout. Treat-to-target optimization of ULT following hospitalization remains inadequate and must be improved if admissions are to be prevented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-730
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • allopurinol
  • gout
  • healthcare costs
  • hospitalization
  • hyperuricaemia
  • patient education


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