J Rheum Dis.  2020 Jul;27(3):174-181. 10.4078/jrd.2020.27.3.174.

Trends of Gout Prevalence in South Korea Based on Medical Utilization: A National Health Insurance Service Database (2002∼2015)

  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea
  • 2Research and Analysis Team, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 3Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


. Although gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, data on gout prevalence and management are sparse, especially in Korean populations. This study reevaluated the most recent prevalence and incidence of gout values in Korean people to update the findings from our previous study in 2011.
. We used the National Health Insurance Service-National Health Information Database (NHIS-NHID) to identify patients diagnosed with gout in South Korea during 2002∼2015. We selected patients with gout as principal diagnosis or 1st∼4th additional diagnosis.
. The prevalence of gout increased 5.17-fold, from 0.39% in 2002 to 2.01% in 2015. This increase occurred in all age groups, but was stronger in those aged 80 years or older, with a 13.1-fold increase from 2002 to 2015. The prevalence of gout increased in all regions of South Korea. The prevalence of the disease was also related to income levels: in 2015, medical insurance subscribers with the highest income were twice more likely to have gout than those in the lowest income bracket. By contrast, the prevalence of gout in medical benefit recipients was 5.58- and 5.25-times higher than that of the general population and of those in the highest income bracket, respectively.
. The prevalence of gout has increased rapidly, although the degree of increase varied according to sex, age, region, and income group. This study sheds some light on the current prevalence of gout among national insurance subscribers in Korea, and will help educate patients and medical staff on the management of gout.


Gout; Prevalence; South Korea; National Health Insurance
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