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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1998 Jul;5(4):491-3.

Collection of cervical secretions does not adversely affect Pap smears taken immediately afterward.

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Interdisciplinary Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7374, USA.


Collection of cervical secretions for local immunological assessment requires that the secretions be collected prior to the Pap smear to avoid contamination with blood. The objective of the present study was to determine whether gentle collection of cervical secretions prior to a Pap smear collection influences the quality of the Pap smear. A total of 266 women were recruited. Half of the participants were assigned to collection of cervical secretions prior to Pap smear collection with Weck-cel sponges. The remaining half had only the Pap smear collection performed. Pap smear slides were reviewed and evaluated for quality by the Bethesda System adequacy criteria without knowledge of randomization. The proportions of limited or inadequate slides in the two study groups were compared by using the Pearson chi-square test. No significant differences were observed between the two study groups when overall Pap smear quality was evaluated (P = 0.29). Comparison of the two study groups with respect to individual adequacy criteria, including presence of air drying artifact, presence of obscuring blood, absence of metaplastic or endocervical cells from the transformation zone, scant cellularity, and presence of obscuring inflammatory cells, also revealed no significant differences between the two study groups. Results from the present study suggest that the collection of cervical secretions with Weck-cel sponges does not adversely impact the quality of subsequently obtained Pap smears.

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