Quality of gout care in the emergency departments: a multicentre study

BACKGROUND:

To report on prevalence of gout flare in emergency departments and to report the quality of gout care in emergency departments and causes of admission at emergency departments.

METHODS:

A retrospective chart review of visits that had a primary diagnosis in gout by the International Classification of Diseases, the tenth revision, at emergency departments from 6 universities in Thailand over a 5 year period from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016.

RESULTS:

Six hundred thirty-two visits were included to the study. Prevalence of gout flare in emergency departments was 0.04. Only 29.3% of the visits had arthrocentesis. 628/632 (99.4%) and 519/585 (88.7%) of the visits were prescribed medications in emergency departments and had home medications, respectively. Although all visits that were prescribed colchicine in emergency departments received adequate doses of colchicine, it was also found that more than 2.4 mg/day of colchicine was prescribed (3/394, 0.8%) for home medications. In addition, 183/343 (53.4%) of the visits with normal renal function were prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, prescribed NSAIDs in abnormal renal function (42/343, 12.2%) was also found. The interruption of dosing, including increase, decrease, addition or discontinuance of urate lowing therapy in a gout flare period was 42/632 (6.6%). The most common cause of admission was acute gouty arthritis (31/47, 66.0%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Quality of gout care in the emergency departments was not good. Inappropriate management of gout flare in emergency departments was demonstrated in our study, particularly with regard to investigations and pharmacological management. Gaps between clinicians and guidelines, the knowledge of clinicians, and overcrowding in emergency departments were hypothesized in the results.