Venous thromboembolism in patients with gout and the impact of hospital admission, disease duration and urate-lowering therapy
Alyshah Abdul Sultan, Sara Muller, Rebecca Whittle, Edward Roddy, Christian Mallen and Lorna Clarson
BACKGROUND: Systemic inflammatory diseases have been associated with increased risk of venous thromboembolism. We aimed to quantify the risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis, and to assess how disease duration, hospital admission and urate-lowering therapy affect this risk. METHODS: We used data from the population-representative, England-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink linked to Hospital Episode Statistics, to identify incident gout cases between 1998 and 2017. We matched cases individually to 1 control without gout on age, gender, general practice and follow-up time. We calculated absolute and relative risks of venous thromboembolism, stratified by age, gender and hospital admission. Among those with gout, we assessed the risk of venous thromboembolism by exposure to urate-lowering therapy. RESULTS: We identified 62 234 patients with incident gout matched to 62 234 controls. Gout was associated with higher risk of venous thromboembolism compared with controls (absolute rate 37.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 35.5–39.3] v. 27.0 [95% CI 25.5–28.9] per 10 000 person-years, adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.25, 95% CI 1.15–1.35). The excess risk in patients with gout, which was sustained up to a decade after diagnosis, was present during the time outside hospital stay (adjusted HR 1.30, 95% CI 1.18–1.42), but not during it (adjusted HR 1.01, 95% CI 0.83–1.24). The risk of venous thromboembolism was similar among patients prescribed versus not prescribed urate-lowering therapy (incidence rate ratio 1.04, 95% CI 0.89–1.23). INTERPRETATION: Gout was associated with higher risk of venous thromboembolism, particularly when the patient was not in hospital and regardless of exposure to urate-lowering therapy. Although the observed excess risk may not be sufficient to warrant preventive intervention, clinical vigilance may be required when caring for these patients.