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Assessment of a rapid liquid-based cytology method for measuring sputum cell counts
  1. M J Martin1,
  2. H Lee1,
  3. G Meakin1,
  4. A Green1,
  5. R L Simms1,
  6. C Reynolds1,
  7. S Winters2,
  8. D E Shaw1,
  9. I Soomro2,
  10. T W Harrison1
  1. 1 The Asthma Centre, Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2 Department of Cellular Pathology, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tim Harrison, Room B23, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Hucknall Rd, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK;tim.harrison{at}


Differential sputum cell counting is not widely available despite proven clinical utility in the management of asthma. We compared eosinophil counts obtained using liquid-based cytology (LBC), a routine histopathological processing method, and the current standard method. Eosinophil counts obtained using LBC were a strong predictor of sputum eosinophilia (≥3%) determined by the standard method suggesting LBC could be used in the management of asthma.

  • Asthma
  • Histology/Cytology

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  • Contributors TWH had full access to all the data in the study, is the guarantor of the content of the manuscript, including the data and analysis, and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis, including any adverse effects. TWH and IS designed the study. HL, GM, AG, RLS, CR and SW contributed substantially to data collection. Sputum samples were processed by HL, GM, AG, RLS and SW and counted by HL, AG, RLS and IS. MJM, DES and TWH contributed substantially to data analysis and interpretation and the writing of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Nottingham Research Ethics Committee 1 (REC: 08/H0407/2).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.