Is repeat serum urate testing superior to a single test to predict incident gout over time?

Academic Article


  • Elevated serum urate is the most important causal risk factor for developing gout. However, in longitudinal cohort studies, a small proportion of people with normal urate levels develop gout and the majority of those with high urate levels do not. These observations may be due to subsequent variations in serum urate over time. Our analysis examined whether single or repeat testing of serum urate more accurately predicts incident gout over time. Individual participant data from three publicly-available cohorts were included. Data from paired serum urate measures 3-5 years apart, followed by an assessment of gout incidence 5-6 years from the second urate measure were used to calculate the predictive ability of four measures of serum urate on incident gout: The first measure, the second measure, the average of the two measures, and the highest of the two measures. Participants with prevalent gout prior to the second measure were excluded. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) statistics were computed to compare the four measures. A total of 16,017 participants were included across the three cohorts, with a mean follow-up from the first serum urate test of 9.3 years (range 8.9-10.1 years). Overall, there was a small increase in the mean serum urate between the first and second measures (322 μmol/ L (5.42 mg/dL) vs. 340 μmol/L (5.71 mg/dL), P<0.001) which were a mean of 3.5 years apart, but the first and second measures were highly correlated (r = 0.81, P<0.001). No differences were observed in the predictive ability of incident gout between the four measures of serum urate measurement with ROC curve AUC statistics ranging between 0.81 (95% confidence intervals: 0.78-0.84) and 0.84 (95% confidence intervals: 0.81-0.87). These data show that repeat serum urate testing is not superior to a single measure of serum urate for prediction of incident gout over approximately one decade.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stewart S; Phipps-Green A; Gamble GD; Stamp LK; Taylor WJ; Neogi T; Merriman TR; Dalbeth N
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 2 February