Spectrum of cytologic changes in pregnancy. A review of 100 abnormal cervicovaginal smears, with emphasis on diagnostic pitfalls

Acta Cytol. 1995 Sep-Oct;39(5):905-8.


Objective: To review pregnancy-related changes in cervicovaginal smears and to distinguish them from neoplasia and dysplasia.

Study design: One hundred consecutive abnormal cervicovaginal smears from pregnant women obtained during 1992-1993 were reviewed. Corresponding biopsies that were available were also reviewed for cytologic correlation.

Results: Sixty-one percent of cases showed inflammation changes, 21% contained low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, and 9% had high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. Diagnostic problems were encountered with decidual cells, Arias-Stella reaction and trophoblastic cells.

Conclusion: Both the clinician and pathologist must be aware of diagnostic pitfalls and false positive diagnoses in pregnancy. Hence, it is extremely important that the clinician notify the pathologist about the pregnancy status of the patient.

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / pathology*
  • Pregnancy*
  • Vagina / cytology
  • Vagina / pathology*
  • Vaginal Smears