Diagnosis of Gout
Gout may be suspected based on symptoms and medical history. Because there are several joint disorders with similar symptoms, other tests may be done to rule them out.
The standard test for gout is arthrocentesis. A needle is inserted into a joint or tophus and a fluid sample is removed. The fluid is evaluated under a microscope to look for urate crystals. Gout can be diagnosed if urate crystals are present. This happens in nearly all cases of gout.
Your blood will be tested for uric acid. It is usually elevated during gout attacks. Other blood tests, such as a complete blood count, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine, will also be done to rule out other joint conditions.
Imaging tests evaluate the joint and surrounding structures. These may include:
- Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout. Updated April 2015. Accessed February 24, 2020.
- Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115215/Gout. Accessed February 24, 2020.
- Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/default.asp. Accessed February 24, 2020.
- Gout diagnosis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/diagnosing.php. Accessed February 24, 2020.
- Gout testing. Lab Tests Online—American Association for Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/gout/start/1. Accessed February 24, 2020.
- David L. Horn, MD, FACP
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