Prevalence of abnormal Papanicolaou smears and cytohistological correlation: A study from Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan

Fauzia Haq Nawaz, Aliya B. Aziz, Shahid Pervez, Javed H. Rizvi

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Objectives: To determine the prevalence of abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) smears in patients visiting the gynecologic outpatient department at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi (AKUH) and their cytohistologic correlation. This data was also compared with other international institutions.

Methods: A database search of all abnormal cervical cytological cases diagnosed in the gynecologic outpatient department at Aga Khan University Hospital in the last 10 years (i.e. from 1994 to 2004), as well as their follow-up biopsies, was carried out. The data was then analyzed.

Results: Of the 66 617 Pap smears reviewed, 95% of cases had a diagnosis of ‘negative’, 2% of smears were labeled as ‘inadequate’, 0.54% Pap smears showed dysplastic changes, and 0.14% were labeled as ‘malignant’. These numbers are less than figures in Western countires, but are comparable with Asian figures. The pick-up rate for abnormal Pap smears was 8/1000, while the overall concordance rate was 74%; positive predictive values for high-grade cervical lesions and for carcinomas was high 92–100%, respectively; while for ASCUS and low-grade cervical lesion was 35% and 67%, respectively. A total number of 8 cases were identified where there was a discrepancy between cytological and histological diagnosis, they were reviewed critically.

Conclusion: In most of the developing countries effective Pap screening faces certain barriers. This includes limited or poor quality of cytology services. In a low-resource country like Pakistan there is a subset of patients (those with atypical cellular abnormalities) who may benefit from repeat smears instead of early cervical biopsies. In order to improve the efficacy of our cytology services, we need to develop specific clinical protocols for subsequent management of abnormal smears.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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