Cytologic smears, fresh wet smears and cultures of vaginal exudates from 1000 women with symptoms of vaginitis were studied to determine the diagnostic accuracy of these three methods of detecting mycotic and trichomonal infections. Papanicolaou smears demonstrated the causative organism in 78% of the patients with trichomoniasis but in only 46% of those who had mycotic infections. Cultures were positive in 94% of women with either type of infection. Wet smears were somewhat less reliable in both situations, but they were far superior to stained smears for identifying mycotic organisms. The Papanicolaou smear alone is likely to establish a diagnosis of vaginal moniliasis in less than half of the patients with such infections, and should therefore not be used routinely for this purpose.
© 1972 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists