Diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis in cases of abnormal vaginal discharge: comparison of clinical and microbiological criteria
Introduction: Bacterial vaginosis is a polymicrobial syndrome involving replacement of normal vaginal hydrogen peroxide producing lactobacilli by a variety of mycoplasmas and Gram-negative rods. Bacterial vaginosis has been conventionally diagnosed using Amsel criteria (a clinical method) or Nugent's score (a laboratory method with higher reproducibility). This study was undertaken to compare the diagnostic ability of the Amsel criteria with that of Nugent's score among patients presenting with abnormal vaginal discharge.
Methodology: The study was conducted at the Medical College in Kolkata, India to determine the prevalence of patients with bacterial vaginosis and their demographic profile. Subjects attending the outpatient department presenting with abnormal vaginal discharge were evaluated for the presence of bacterial vaginosis by Amsel criteria and Nugent's score.
Results: Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis was 24% by Nugent's score. In comparison, Amsel criteria had sensitivity of 66.67%, specificity of 94.74%, positive predictive value of 80% and negative predictive value of 90%. There was no perfect inter-rater agreement between the Amsel criteria and Nugent's score (Kappa = 0.58). Presence of clue cells correlated best with a positive diagnosis by Nugent's score while the amine test (whiff test) had the lowest correlation.
Conclusion: Although the Amsel criteria method is a convenient and inexpensive means of diagnosing bacterial vaginosis, it is not always reliable. Alternative reliable and inexpensive diagnostic methods that unify clinical and microbiological parameters, thus increasing sensitivity while retaining specificity, are needed.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).