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Acta Cytol. 1991 Jan-Feb;35(1):64-8.

Comparison of Cytobrush sampling, spatula sampling and combined Cytobrush-spatula sampling of the uterine cervix.

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Department of General Practice, State University of Limburg, Belgium.


Since the introduction of the Cytobrush for sampling the uterine cervix, some practitioners have ceased taking a concomitant cervical scraping using a spatula. To examine whether Cytobrush sampling alone is adequate for the diagnosis of cervical lesions, the Cytobrush and spatula samples in 444 smears (most with original diagnoses of at least mild dysplasia) were analyzed separately for the presence of diagnostic cells, endocervical cells and squamous cells. Of the 412 smears showing pathologic findings (mild to severe dysplasia or worse), diagnostic cells were present in 400 Cytobrush samples and in 369 spatula samples; the combination of both samples thus gave a 3% gain in correct diagnoses as compared to use of the Cytobrush samples alone. Another 18 smears would have been underdiagnosed based only on the Cytobrush samples. Endocervical cells were present in 95.3% of the Cytobrush samples and 83.8% of the spatula samples; squamous cells were present in 93.9% of the Cytobrush samples and 96.8% of the spatula samples. Analysis confirmed that it is important that the smear should contain both endocervical and squamous cells. A positive relationship between the absence of squamous cells in the Cytobrush sample and the probability of a false-negative assessment was suggested. It thus seems inadvisable to replace the combination sampling method by Cytobrush sampling alone, which may lead to a false-negative diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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