HealthDay News — Most hospitalizations for a primary diagnosis of gout are preventable, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 14 to 19 in Boston.

Thomas M. Harrington, MD, and Thomas P. Olenginski, MD, from the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Penn., examined hospitalizations related to gout and assessed whether these were preventable. Data were collected in a retrospective cohort of 79 adult patients with a primary discharge diagnosis of gout.

The researchers found that 56 of the 79 patients had adjudicated primary diagnosis of gout. Eighty-nine percent of these admissions (50 patients) met the definition of being preventable. Thirty-three of the 50 preventable admissions underwent arthrocentesis; 24 of these were performed in the emergency department. Seventy percent of the patients had a prior history of gout, and 42 percent had three or more risk factors for gout. The total additive length of stay was 171 days for preventable admissions (mean, 3.42 days). The average cost per admission was $4,160, with total hospital-related costs of $208,000.

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“Too many of these admissions were indeed preventable, but most of the time, the rheumatology department was called in after the patient had already been admitted to the hospital,” Olenginski said in a statement. “To effectively deal with this problem in a busy emergency department, a collaborative approach between the emergency department, rheumatology, orthopedics, and internal medicine is necessary.”


Sharma TS, et al. Abstract 2322. Presented at the America College of Rheumatology Meeting. Nov. 14-19, Boston. 

This article originally appeared on MPR