Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests to help diagnose gout may include:

  • Joint fluid test. Your doctor may use a needle to draw fluid from your affected joint. When examined under the microscope, your joint fluid may reveal urate crystals.
  • Blood test. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to measure the levels of uric acid and creatinine in your blood.

    Blood test results can be misleading, though. Some people have high uric acid levels, but never experience gout. And some people have signs and symptoms of gout, but don't have unusual levels of uric acid in their blood.

  • X-ray imaging. Joint X-rays can be helpful to rule out other causes of joint inflammation.
  • Ultrasound. Musculoskeletal ultrasound can detect urate crystals in a joint or in a tophus. This technique is more widely used in Europe than in the United States.
  • Dual energy CT scan. This type of imaging can detect the presence of urate crystals in a joint, even when it is not acutely inflamed. This test is not used routinely in clinical practice due to the expense and is not widely available.
Nov. 25, 2014

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