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, 2017.
Gout. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115215/Gout. Updated September 2, 2016. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/default.asp. Updated April 2016. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Gout diagnosis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/diagnosing.php. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Gout testing. Lab Tests Online—American Association for Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/gout/start/1. Updated December 16, 2015. Accessed February 24, 2017.
4/24/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115215/Gout: Wise JN, Weissman BN, Appel M, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/69424/Narrative/. Updated 2013.
Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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