Gout patients often need more than one test for gout.
Tests for gout cover various symptoms, and some are repeated throughout the life of the gout patient in order to monitor treatment.
This Test For Gout Guideline describes all the different types of test, and when they are best used.
Uric Acid Blood Test For Gout
Testing blood for uric acid levels is the most common test for gout.
Anyone who has had gout, or who is suspected of gout, or who has a family history of gout, should have blood tested for uric acid at least once per year. This frequency will increase during the first few years of uric acid lowering treatment.
Tests should normally be done by your family doctor, however, some gout sufferers prefer to test themselves using a uric acid meter at home.
Liver Function and Kidney Function Blood Tests
Though not strictly part of the diagnosis procedure for gout, it is sensible to include kidney function and liver function tests whenever blood is drawn for uric acid tests.
24-Hour Uric Acid Excretion Urine Test
This test for gout assesses the ability of your kidneys to excrete uric acid. Though it is not usually included in most doctor’s gout testing procedures, it does give you a better indication of why you might have gout. It also helps determine what your treatment options are assuming gout is confirmed.
This is a simple process where you collect all urine over a 24-hour period. This is then analyzed to give your uric acid excretion rate.
Synovial Fluid Uric Acid Crystal Test For Gout
This is the current “gold standard” for gout testing.
Fluid is drawn from the affected joint using a very fine needle. This process is generally called joint aspiration, and specifically when used in the context of suspected gout or arthritis, it is called arthrocentesis.
Normally, the synovial fluid is examined under a polarizing microscope. Polarized light is split distinctively by uric acid crystals, allowing them to be differentiated from other crystals. Other methods of examining for uric acid crystals have been used, but Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is the best way to test for uric acid crystals.
Uric Acid Deposits Imaging Tests
There are many new techniques for identifying uric acid deposits in the body. The best is DECT, but this is a new procedure that is not yet widely available.
Ultrasound and MRI techniques are constantly being refined to make detection of uric acid crystals in the body clearer and easier.
These imaging procedures offer a non-invasive alternative to joint fluid analysis. Unfortunately, they are not available widely enough to be considered as the new gold standard test for gout.
Test For Gout: Next Steps
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