Diagnosis of Gout
A Systematic Review in Support of an American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline
Published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2016
Posted on RAND.org on November 30, 2016
Alternative strategies exist for diagnosing gout that do not rely solely on the documentation of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals.
To summarize evidence regarding the accuracy of clinical tests and classification algorithms compared with that of a reference standard of MSU crystals in joint aspirate for diagnosing gout.
Several electronic databases from inception to 29 February 2016.
21 prospective cohort, cross-sectional, and case–control studies including participants with joint inflammation and no previous definitive gout diagnosis who had MSU analysis of joint aspirate.
Data extraction and risk-of-bias assessment by 2 reviewers independently; overall strength of evidence (SOE) judgment by group.
Recently developed algorithms including clinical, laboratory, and imaging criteria demonstrated good sensitivity (up to 88%) and fair to good specificity (up to 96%) for diagnosing gout (moderate SOE). Three studies of dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) showed sensitivities of 85% to 100% and specificities of 83% to 92% for diagnosing gout (low SOE). Six studies of ultrasonography showed sensitivities of 37% to 100% and specificities of 68% to 97%, depending on the ultrasonography signs assessed (pooled sensitivity and specificity for the double contour sign: 74% [95% CI, 52% to 88%] and 88% [CI, 68% to 96%], respectively [low SOE]).
Important study heterogeneity and selection bias; scant evidence in primary and urgent care settings and in patients with conditions that may be confused with or occur with gout.
Multidimensional algorithms, which must be validated in primary and urgent care settings, may help clinicians make a provisional diagnosis of gout. Although DECT and ultrasonography also show promise for gout diagnosis, accessibility to these methods may be limited.