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01-06-2018 | Gout | Article

Gout and the risk of myocardial infarction in older adults: a study of Medicare recipients

Arthritis Research & Therapy

Authors: Jasvinder A. Singh, John D. Cleveland

Publisher: BioMed Central



Current evidence suggests that gout is independently associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI), but data in older adults at the highest risk of MI are lacking. Our objective was to examine whether gout is associated with a higher risk of incident MI in older adults.


We assessed the 2006–2012 Medicare 5% claims data for the association of gout at baseline with the occurrence of a new (incident) MI during follow-up (no diagnosis of MI in the baseline period of at least 1 year), adjusting for patient demographics, medical comorbidity (Charlson–Romano index), and commonly used cardiovascular and gout medications, in a Cox proportional hazards model. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.


In a cohort of 1,733,613 eligible people, 14,279 developed incident MI: 13,029 MIs in people without gout and 1250 MIs in those with gout, with crude incident rates of 1.3 vs 4.1 per 1000 person-years, respectively. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, gout was significantly associated with a higher hazard of incident MI, with HR of 2.08 (95% CI 1.95, 2.21). Risk was minimally attenuated in sensitivity analyses that replaced the continuous Charlson–Romano index score with a categorical score or individual comorbidities, or expanding to a more sensitive diagnostic algorithm for incident MI, or additionally adjusting for obesity.


Gout was independently associated with a higher risk of MI in the elderly, aged 65 years or older. The role of inflammatory and other pathways need to be explored as underlying mechanisms for this association.

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