Results from a recent study presented during the European League Against Rheumatism Annual European Congress of Rheumatology showed that measuring red blood cell distribution width in patients with gout during a flare is suggestive of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition that is more prevalent in the elderly population. Usually CKD in younger patients is associated with loss of kidney function, but in older patients (over 65 years of age) with CKD, 30% do not have progressive disease with loss of kidney function over time. CKD is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic renal failure, and is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
In this study, a research team from the Seoul National University Hospital retrospectively analyzed the clinical records of a cohort of 236 patients that had visited their doctor due to acute gout attacks from 2003 to 2014. Most patients were men (92,3%) and had a mean age of 49.38 years.
The researchers divided patients in three different groups, distributed according tertile measurements of red blood cell distribution width (RDW). The team then analysed each of the three groups for any clinically relevant differences, and aimed to identify potentially significant influences.
The results showed that patients in the highest RDW tertile were mainly older, with lower albumin levels and with higher haemoglobin. The researchers also found that patients in the highest RDW tertile tended to have higher recurrence of gout flares and impaired renal function. The results from the analysis further revealed there was a negative correlation, albeit modest, between albumin and RDW and a positive correlation between age and levels of creatinine.
The researchers determined that RDW was not associated with acute phase reactants and serum uric acid. Results from the regression analysis showed that there was a correlation between an increase in RDW with recurrent gout flares and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
“In [an] acute gout attack, RDW, an easy and quick measurable index, may represent renal dysfunction rather than inflammatory burden or uric acid level, and physicians who treat acute gouty arthritis with high RDW should pay attention to the recurrence of gout attack and treatment,” the authors explained in a news release.