Table of Content


Spring 2004, Vol. 12 No. 1

H.K. Dermatol. Venereol. Bull. (2004) 12, 12-17

Review Article

Interpretation of Pap smear reports

TH Cheung 張德康

Pap smear screening is a multi-step process that involves recruitment of patients, taking smear, making and reading slides and issuing reports to alert clinicians to take appropriate action. In the last decade, innovative technologies including liquid base cytology, automated screening and human papilloma virus (HPV) tests have revolutionarised Pap smear screening. As a quality assurance measure to improve Pap smear reports, Bethesda system (BTS) was developed in 1988 to replace Papanicolaou numeric classes. BTS 1988 is structured and descriptive and is well received in many parts of the world including Hong Kong. Minor modifications were made in 1991 (BTS 1991) to improve the system whilst a major revision was made in 2001 to reflect the current understanding of cervical cytology and use of new technologies in Pap smear screening. This paper will discuss the changes that have been made to BTS 2001 to facilitate interpretation of reports and providing appropriate management.