A randomized clinical trial comparing cytobrush - spatula with cotton swab - spatula for Papanicolaou smears
- Swamy MK, Patil, Kamal P, Das Sourav
This study was designed to compare the Ayres spatula/cytobrush combination with the Ayres spatula/cotton swab combination as to the quality of the Pap smear in adolescent females. We evaluated 111 Pap smears, of which 60 (54%) were from cotton applicators/spatula combination and 51 (46%) were from cytobrush/spatula combination. Seventy-nine percent of the specimens with the cytobrush showed good cellular yield, compared to only 50% of the specimens obtained with a cotton applicator (p less than 0.05). The adequate specimen rate for endocervical cell content was 68% for the cytobrush versus 56% for the cotton applicator (p = not significant). The adequacy rate was less for trainees than for attending physicians, but the difference was less marked for those using the cytobrush. The cytobrush does have some impact on improving adequacy rates for Pap smears. However, this study was unable to determine whether this is a cost-effective addition to the Ayres spatula or cotton swab. The problem of inadequate Pap smears deserves more scrutiny among various health care systems.