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What tests are used?

  • Synovial fluid analysis – Fluid taken from the joint is examined for the presence of needle-like uric acid crystals, other types of crystals, and for signs of infection. This can help determine gout from other conditions such as pseudogout where a different type of crystal deposits and septic arthritis where infection is present.
  • Uric acid - to detect high levels in the blood. Levels taken during an acute attack of gout may be normal as the uric acid has deposited in the joint making the blood levels fall. Therefore, your doctor may take uric acid levels 4-6 weeks after the attack for a more accurate diagnosis.
  • Kidney function tests - may be used to look for evidence of kidney damage.
  • Sometimes other tests, such as an RF (rheumatoid factor) or an ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) test may be requested to rule out other causes of arthritis symptoms.
  • A blood culture and/or synovial fluid culture may be requested if septic arthritis (arthritis due to an infected joint) is suspected. X-rays of the affected joints may show uric acid deposits and damage from gout or show osteoarthritis which can present like gout.

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