CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A University of Virginia Health System study has found a gout medication can help improve the survival of patients that are suffering from heart failure.

The medicine is called colchicine. The researchers looked at more than 1,000 patients that were admitted to UVA Health between March 2011 to February 2020 with worsening heart failure.

Those who received the medication for a gout flareup had a survival rate of 97.9 percent. Those who did not receive colchicine had a survival rate of 93.5 percent.

"We are in a clinical environment but we also a very big research institute we work collaboratively," said Sula Mazimba, MD, MPH, a researcher at the UVA School of Medicine who specializes in heart failure.

Researchers also believe this medication can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with cholesterol buildup in their arteries.

In cases where a patient is suffering from heart failure, there is inadequate blood flow throughout the body.

The American Heart Association reports there are about six million Americans who have heart failure, and the condition is likely responsible for more than 86,000 deaths a year.

Patients who have heart failure also tend to have gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in joints like the ankle.

The researchers believe that colchicine's anti-inflammatory properties may be important in helping to improve the outcomes for heart failure patients, especially in acute heart failure cases.

Additional research is needed.