The cytologist and bacterioses of the vaginal-ectocervical area. Clues, commas and confusion

V. J. Schnadig, K. D. Davie, S. K. Shafer, R. B. Yandell, M. Z. Islam, E. V. Hannigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

To evaluate the role of the cytologist in the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis, the predominant bacterial patterns seen in 157 Papanicolaou-stained cervical smears were assessed and classified as large bacillus, anaerobic or scanty. A large bacillus pattern was found in 73 smears (46%), and anaerobic pattern in 77 (49%) and scanty bacteria in 7 (5%). Comma-shaped (curved) bacilli were found in 34 smears. The prevalence of clue cells in smears with anaerobic patterns was 73%. Gardnerella vaginalis was cultured from 89% of the cases with anaerobic-type smears containing clue cells and from 88% of those with anaerobic-type smears lacking clue cells. Mobiluncus sp. was cultured from 83% of the cases with anaerobic-type smears showing curved bacilli and 14% of those with anaerobic-type smears lacking curved bacilli. Papanicolaou-stained smears were found to be more sensitive and more specific for identifying clue cells than were wet preparations. A positive association was found between a positive KOH 'whiff' test and the presence of curved bacilli on the Papanicolaou-stained smear. The clinical significance of these findings is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalActa Cytologica
Volume33
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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    Schnadig, V. J., Davie, K. D., Shafer, S. K., Yandell, R. B., Islam, M. Z., & Hannigan, E. V. (1989). The cytologist and bacterioses of the vaginal-ectocervical area. Clues, commas and confusion. Acta Cytologica, 33(3), 287-297.