The effects of different sampling techniques on smear quality and the diagnosis of cytological abnormalities in cervical screening

Cytopathology. 1997 Jun;8(3):188-95. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2303.1997.4675046.x.


A major cause of false-negative cervical smear is sampling error. We examined the results obtained with three different instruments in 126,608 smears from general practitioners. The spatula/brush combination yielded the highest proportion of smears showing cytological abnormalities, and the Cervex brush the lowest. Although not a randomized study, this paper highlights the shortcomings of the Cervex brush. We postulate a mechanical deficiency. Diagnostic accuracy rather than a high proportion of good quality smears should dictate the choice of instrument.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Uteri / pathology*
  • Equipment Design
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Specimen Handling / standards
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vaginal Smears / instrumentation
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*
  • Vaginal Smears / standards