We have previously shown that ultrasonography can detect hyperechogenic crystal deposits in the kidney medulla of patients with gout. In this cross-sectional study we investigated the frequency and clinical correlates of hyperechogenic kidney medulla in 502 consecutive primary consultants for gout (ACR/EULAR criteria) at the Vien Gut medical center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. None of these patients received urate-lowering drugs. Kidney medulla echogenicity on B-mode ultrasonography was compared to that of the kidney cortex. Overall, 36% patients showed a hyperechoic pattern of Malpighi pyramids. On univariate analysis, the pattern was significantly associated with age, estimated gout duration, steroid-dependency, clinical tophi, urate arthropathy, double contour thickness at the scanned joint, coronary heart disease, arterial hypertension, hyperuricemia, proteinuria, leukocyturia and decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate. On multivariable analysis, the hyperechoic pattern was associated with estimated disease duration, clinical tophi, urate arthropathy, double contour thickness and decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate. No hyperechoic pattern was observed in 515 consecutive consultants without gout. Thus, hyperechoic kidney medulla was frequently demonstrated in Vietnamese patients with tophaceous gout and associated with features of tubulointerstitial nephritis. This finding revives the hypothesis of microcrystalline nephropathy of gout, predominantly seen in untreated gouty patients, which could be an important target for urate-lowering therapy.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.