Validation of the use of Pap-stained vaginal smears for diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis

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Papanicolaou-stained cervicovaginal smears (Pap smears) are used to screen for cervical cancer. Since there is a lack of consensus in published reports respecting the efficacy of Pap-stained smears in BV diagnostics, there is a need to validate their use for diagnosis of BV. Slides from the international BV00 workshop were Pap stained and independently analyzed by four investigators under a phase-contrast microscope. All workshop slides-whether Pap-stained, Gram-stained or rehydrated air-dried smears-were scored according to the same Nugent classification. The diagnostic accuracy of Pap smears for diagnosis of BV had a sensitivity of 0.85 and a specificity of 0.92, with a positive and negative predictive value of 0.84 and 0.93, respectively. The interobserver weighted kappa index was 0.86 for Pap-stained smears compared to 0.81 for Gram-stained smears, and 0.70 for rehydrated air-dried smears using the mean Nugent score as the criterion standard. Provided that the samples are taken from equivalent locations (the vaginal fornix) and analyzed according to the same scoring criteria, there is no discernable difference in the diagnostic accuracy of the three smear-staining methods. The Pap-stained vaginal smears can be used as a wholly adequate alternative to Gram-stained smears for BV diagnosis.


  • K. Eriksson
  • U. Forsum
  • A. Bjornerem
  • Jens Jörgen Platz-Christensen
  • P. G. Larsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • Pap stain, bacterial vaginosis, diagnosis, vaginal smears, Amsel
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-813
Journal APMIS : acta pathologica, microbiologica, et immunologica Scandinavica
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch