A research team at the University of Virginia Hospital System found that a regularly-used medication for gout, called colchicine, helped improve the survival rates of hospitalized heart failure patients. Results of the study are published in Clinical Cardiology.
As part of the study, researchers gathered and reviewed medical records for over 1,000 people who were hospitalized at the University of Virginia Medical center between 2011 and 2020. Each person was hospitalized for worsening signs of heart failure. Researchers found that survival rates were higher in people who had received colchicine for a recent episode of gout (97.9%) compared to those who did not receive the drug (93.5%).
Researchers expect their findings could have important ramifications for the care of people with worsening heart failure, including colchicine’s role as a potential treatment. In particular, researchers suggest that these findings highlight the importance of inflammation’s role in heart failure. As a medication with anti-inflammatory mechanisms, colchicine could have a promising role in addressing signs of inflammation present in people with heart failure.
Heart failure is a common and, unfortunately, expensive condition. According to the CDC, heart failure was listed on 13% of death certificates in the U.S in 2018, representing about 379,000 people. A chronic condition, heart failure generally refers to the reduced ability of the heart to pump blood effectively. Many conditions cause heart failure, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Gout and heart failure are also common comorbidities. In fact, gout can increase the risk of someone developing heart failure. Many treatments used to treat heart failure, such as diuretics, can also increase the risk of gout. Diuretics impact the amount of uric acid in the blood. This uric acid can form deposits that in turn causes inflammation known as gout.
Colchicine works by reducing this inflammation. More research is needed to understand colchicine’s role as a potential heart failure treatment.