Educational inequalities in all-cause and cause-specific mortality among people with gout: a register-based matched cohort study in southern Sweden

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BACKGROUND: Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis with a rising prevalence around the globe. While educational inequalities in incidence and prevalence of gout have been reported, no previous study investigated educational inequality in mortality among people with gout. The aim of this study was to assess absolute and relative educational inequalities in all-cause and cause-specific mortality among people with gout in comparison with an age- and sex-matched cohort free of gout in southern Sweden.

METHODS: We identified all residents aged ≥30 years of Skåne region with doctor-diagnosed gout (ICD-10 code M10, n = 24,877) during 1998-2013 and up to 4 randomly selected age- and sex-matched comparators free of gout (reference cohort, n = 99,504). These were followed until death, emigration, or end of 2014. We used additive hazards models and Cox regression adjusted for age, sex, marital status, and country of birth to estimate slope and relative indices of inequality (SII/RII). Three cause-of-death attribution approaches were considered for RII estimation: "underlying cause", "any mention", and "weighted multiple-cause".

RESULTS: Gout patients with the lowest education had 1547 (95% CI: 1001, 2092) more deaths per 100,000 person-years compared with those with the highest education. These absolute inequalities were larger than in the reference population (1255, 95% CI: 1038, 1472). While the contribution of cardiovascular (cancer) mortality to these absolute inequalities was greater (smaller) in men with gout than those without, the opposite was seen among women. Relative inequality in all-cause mortality was smaller in gout (RII 1.29 [1.18, 1.41]) than in the reference population (1.46 [1.38, 1.53]). The weighted multiple-cause approach generally led to larger RIIs than the underlying cause approach.

CONCLUSIONS: Our register-based matched cohort study showed that low level of education was associated with increased mortality among gout patients. Although the magnitude of relative inequality was smaller in people with gout compared with those without, the absolute inequalities were greater reflecting a major mortality burden among those with lower education.


External organisations
  • University of Melbourne
  • Boston University
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Original languageEnglish
Article number164
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 28
Publication categoryResearch