Clinicopathological study of Papanicolaou (Pap) smears for diagnosing of cervical infections



Cervical infections are not uncommon in our population especially in young and sexually active women. One thousand samples of married women, aged between 20 and 70 years, were studied by conventional Papanicolaou smears. These samples were examined in the Department of Pathology, King Edward Medical University, Lahore from January 2007 to June 2009. Only cases without (pre)neoplastic cytology were included. Six types of infections were diagnosed cytologically. The overall frequency of normal, inadequate, neoplastic, and infective smears was 50%, 1.8%, 10.2%, and 38.3%, respectively. Most of the patients (67%) were in the reproductive age group with mean age 34.7 ± 2.6 years. The commonest clinical sign seen in 354/383 (92%) cases and symptom in (349/383; 91%) cases were vaginal discharge and pruritis vulvae. Among the infective smears, 290 cases (75.7%), the cytologic diagnosis was nonspecific inflammation. Most of these 290 smears contained clue cells (indicating Gardnerella infection) and a lack of lactobacilli. Such smears are predominant in patients suffering from bacterial vaginosis (BV). Twenty-eight smears (7.3%) were positive for Trichomonas vaginalis, 27 cases (7%) were smears with koilocytic change pathognomonic of human papilloma virus infection. Twenty-five smears (6.5%) were positive for fungal infection. Seven cases (1.8%) were diagnosed as herpes simplex virus infection. Finally, there were six cases (1.5%) with atrophic vaginitis. We conclude that the cervical smear is well suited for diagnosing cervical infections. It is clear that Gardnerella, known to be associated with bacterial vaginosis, is a major problem in our Pakistani population. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2012. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.