Gout and the risk of incident atrial fibrillation in older adults: a study of US Medicare data.

Academic Article


  • Objective: To assess the association of gout with new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in the elderly. Methods: We used the 5% Medicare data from 2005 to 2012 to assess whether a diagnosis of gout was associated with incident AF. We used multivariable Cox regression adjusted for demographics, Charlson-Romano comorbidity index, common cardiovascular medications, allopurinol and febuxostat use, to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Among 1 647 812 eligible people, 9.8% had incident AF. The mean age was 75 years, 42% were male, 86% were white and the mean Charlson-Romano index score was 1.52. We noted 10 604 incident AF cases in people with gout and 150 486 incident AF cases in people without gout. The crude incidence rates of AF in people with and without gout were 43.4 vs 16.3 per 1000 patient-years, respectively. After multivariable-adjustment, gout was associated with a higher HR of incident AF, 1.92 (95% CI 1.88 to 1.96), with minimal attenuation of HR in sensitivity models that replaced the Charlson-Romano index score with a categorical variable, HR was 1.91 (95% CI 1.87 to 1.95). In another model that adjusted for AF-specific risk factors including hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and coronary artery disease and individual Charlson-Romano index comorbidities, the HR was slightly attenuated at 1.71 (95% CI 1.67 to 1.75). Older age, male sex, white race and higher Charlson-Romano index score were each associated with higher hazard of incident AF. Conclusion: A diagnosis of gout almost doubled the risk of incident AF in the elderly. Future studies should explore the pathogenesis of this association.
  • Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation, Epidemiology, Gout, Older adults, Risk factor
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Singh JA; Cleveland JD
  • Start Page

  • e000712
  • Volume

  • 4
  • Issue

  • 2