Disposable rake and reusable bristle type cytology brushes have been compared in 50 patients undergoing fibreoptic bronchoscopy for suspected malignancy. Forty seven patients were eventually found to have carcinoma of the bronchus. A diagnosis of malignancy was made from the specimens taken with one or other brush in 34 patients, from the reusable brush in 28, and from the disposable brush in 31. The specimens taken with the two types of brush were of similar quality. The reusable brush is about five times less expensive per procedure but carries a risk of cross contamination and cross infection, and time is needed to clean the brush after each bronchoscopy. The diagnostic yield appears to be at least as good with the disposable brush.
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