Uric Acid (Synovial Fluid)
Does this test have other names?
Synovial fluid analysis
What is this test?
The uric acid test measures levels of uric acid that can collect in joint fluid. Uric
acid is a normal body waste product. It forms when chemicals called purines break
down. Purines are a natural substance found in the body. They are also found in many
foods such as liver, shellfish, and alcohol. They can also be formed in the body when
DNA is broken down.
When purines are broken down to uric acid in the blood, the body gets rid of it when
you urinate or have a bowel movement. But if your body makes too much uric acid, or
if your kidneys aren't working well, uric acid can build up in the blood. Uric acid
levels can also increase when you eat too many high-purine foods or take medicines
like diuretics, aspirin, and niacin. Then crystals of uric acid can form and collect
in the joints. This causes painful inflammation. This condition is called gout.
If you have gout, you may have crystals of uric acid in your synovial fluid, the substance
that surrounds joints to help them move smoothly.
Why do I need this test?
You may need this test if you have symptoms of gout such as:
Joint pain or soreness
Swelling in a joint or red skin around a joint
Swelling and pain in a big toe, ankle, or knee
Joints that are hot to the touch
Swelling and pain that affects only 1 joint in the body
Skin that looks shiny and is red or purple
You may also need this test if you have symptoms of kidney stones. Symptoms include:
What other tests might I have along with this test?
You may also have blood and urine tests to measure uric acid levels. Higher than normal
levels of uric acid in the blood or urine can suggest gout. But the only way your
healthcare provider can diagnose the condition for sure is by measuring the levels
of uric acid in your synovial fluid.
What do my test results mean?
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used
for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem.
Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
If your synovial fluid sample shows uric acid crystals, you may have gout. But even
if your sample doesn't show uric acid crystals, you still may have gout. Crystals
don't always form in the synovial fluid during a gout attack.
How is this test done?
This test requires a sample of synovial fluid. It's collected during a process called
joint aspiration. To collect the fluid, your healthcare provider inserts a needle
into the skin near an inflamed joint and withdraws some of the fluid into a vial or
Does this test pose any risks?
Joint aspiration has some minor risks. You may have bleeding in the area around the
joint. Although rare, an infection can develop in the joint from the test.
What might affect my test results?
Some medicines may affect your test results. They include:
Aspirin and other medicines that contain salicylate
Cyclosporine, a medicine sometimes used for autoimmune diseases
Levodopa, a medicine used to treat Parkinson disease
Some diuretic medicines such as hydrochlorothiazide
Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
Other things that may affect your test results include:
Chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat cancer
Foods high in purines, such as organ meats, mushrooms, some types of fish and seafood,
and dried peas and beans
How do I get ready for this test?
Ask your healthcare provider about what to do before having this test. You may need
to avoid eating, drinking, or taking certain medicines on the day of the test. Be
sure your provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you
are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal
drugs you may use.