A 17-year study of paediatric cytopathology in a tertiary hospital in Sokoto, Nigeria

  • K Abdullahi
  • B Jibrin
Keywords: Childhood malignancies, Cytology, Fine needle aspiration, Paediatrics, Smears, Sokoto


Background: Cytopathology offers a rapid diagnosis of suspicious lesions, aiding prompt clinical judgment. The extent of the cytopathologic practice is variable, thus justifying the need to assess the frequency of its use in health care centres in resource-challenged settings.
Objectives: To assess the frequency of use of cytopathology services, the demographic features of the patients and the various diagnostic outcomes.
Methods: The study was a retrospective analysis of 17 years’ records; including parameters like the basic demographics and cytomorphologic diagnoses in paediatric practice. Data was sought from histopathology department registers and cytopathologic request forms for patients in the age range of 0-15 years.
Results: The total number of the paediatric cytologic specimen was 930 constituting 12.3% of all cytologic specimens received in the study period. The mean age was 8.0 years with a range of 1 day to 15 years. There were 537/930 (57.7%) males and 378/930 (40.6%) females with a male-to-female ratio of 1.4:1. The specimens were obtained by fine-needle aspiration cytology in 596/930 (64.1%) cases or smears of exfoliative specimens in 334/930 (35.9%) cases. Most of the samples were obtained from children in 6 - 10 years age group. The commonest clinical indication for the cytology was “suspected malignancy” comprising 370/930 (39.8%) cases. The most frequent cytopathological diagnosis was “positive for malignancy”, accounting for 232/930 (24.9%) cases.
Conclusion: Cytopathology practice in a resource-poor setting remains a useful tool in the preliminary evaluation of lesions.


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Original Research