Cytological follow-up after hysterectomy: is vaginal vault cytology sampling a clinical governance problem? The University Hospital of North Staffordshire approach (2015)

Type of publication:
Journal article

Parry-Smith W., Thorpe D., Ogboro-Okor L., *Underwood M. , Ismaili E., Kodampur M., Todd R., Douce G., Redman C.W.E.

Cytopathology, June 2015, vol./is. 26/3(188-193)

Objectives: Vaginal vault cytology sampling following hysterectomy is recommended for specific indications in national guidelines. However, clinical governance issues surround compliance with guidance. Our first study objective was to quantify how many patients undergoing hysterectomy at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) had vault cytology advice in their histology report and, if indicated, whether it was arranged. The second was to devise a vault cytology protocol based on local experience and national guidance. Methods: The local cancer registry was searched. Clinical, clerical and histological data for all patients undergoing hysterectomy were collected. Results: In total, 271 patients were identified from both the gynae-oncology and benign gynaecology teams. Of these, 24% (65/271) were gynae-oncology patients with a mean age of 69 years. The benign gynaecology team had 76% (206/271) of patients with a mean age of 55 years. Subsequently, 94% (256/271) had cytology follow-up advice in their histopathology report. Ultimately, from both cohorts, 39% (18/46) had follow-up cytology performed when indicated. Conclusion: A high proportion of cases complied with national guidance. However, a disappointingly high number did not have vault cytology sampling when this was indicated. This is probably a result of the complex guidance that is misunderstood in both primary and secondary care. Vault follow-up of patients after hysterectomy rests with the team performing the surgery. Vault cytology, if indicated, should be performed in secondary care and follow-up should be planned. The protocol set out in this article should be followed to avoid unnecessary clinical governance failings.