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Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Oct;102(4):761-4.

Rehydration of air-dried cervical smears: a feasible alternative to conventional wet fixation.

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Division of Cytopathology, Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology, New Delhi, India.



To evaluate the effect of rehydration of air-dried cervical smears on staining quality and to find out whether rehydration techniques can be adopted as an alternative method, especially in high-volume, resource-limited settings.


A total of 950 paired wet-fixed and air-dried-rehydrated cervical smears collected by paramedical workers from an urban slum of Delhi, India, were compared for staining quality by assessing different cytoplasmic and nuclear parameters.


The staining quality in air-dried-rehydrated smears was satisfactory and comparable to wet-fixed smears (61.3% versus 63.6%). The staining was superior in rehydrated smears in 26.5%, as compared with 15.4% in wet-fixed ones (P <.001). Unsatisfactory staining was observed in 12.2% of rehydrated smears, as compared with 21% of wet-fixed smears. The smear background was cleaner in rehydrated smears. Red blood cells were observed in only 3% of rehydrated smears, in comparison to 12% in wet-fixed ones (P <.001).


Rehydration of air-dried cervical smears is a suitable alternative to wet-fixed smears. The staining quality is either the same as or better than wet-fixed smears, and the unsatisfactory rate is lower. This technique is simple and can be conveniently adopted in resource-limited settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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