Comparative cytologic yield and quality of three Pap smear instruments

W. L. Toffler, C. K. Pluedeman, A. E. Sinclair, K. M. Ireland, B. J. Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Various sampling techniques of the cervix have established false negative rates ranging from 18% to 45%. A number of studies suggest that this false negative rate can be reduced by sampling techniques that are associated with higher yields of endocervical cells. Method: This study enrolled 301 women, each of whom had a Pap smear obtained using three different sampling instruments (a cervical brush, a plastic spatula, and a cotton swab) in random order. Results: The cervical brush yielded a better endocervical sample than either of the other instruments (P<.001), and there was no difference between the swab and spatula. In addition, the recovery of endocervical cells increased with each additional sample taken, regardless of instrument used (P<.001), although the difference in yield between the second and third samples was not significant. Conclusions: To enhance the yield of endocervical cells in Pap smear sampling, consideration should be given to using the cervical brush routinely as a sampling instrument and to taking more than one sample per screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-407
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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