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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 381-386

Diagnostic value of Tzanck smear in various erosive, vesicular, and bullous skin lesions


1 Department of Dermatology, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Leprosy, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
3 Department of Pathology, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Iffat Hassan
Department of Dermatology, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Leprosy, Government Medical College, University of Kashmir, Srinagar - 190 010, Jammu and Kashmir
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.169729

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Background: Cutaneous cytology has long been shown to be useful in the diagnosis of several erosive, vesicular, and bullous skin lesions. The Tzanck smear although an old tool, still remains a simple, rapid, easily applied, and inexpensive test for these skin lesions. Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of Tzanck smear by determining its sensitivity and specificity in various erosive, vesicular, and bullous skin lesions. Materials and Methods: One hundred and forty-two patients with erosive, vesicular, and/or bullous skin lesions were included in the study. Four groups of disorders were identified: infections, immunologic disorders, genodermatosis, and spongiotic dermatitis. All the study cases were evaluated by Tzanck smear. Definitive diagnosis was established by standard diagnostic techniques (including when appropriate, viral serology, bacterial culture, histopathology, direct immunoflourescence). Results: The sensitivity and specificity of cytologic findings was respectively 86.36% and 91.30% for viral infections; for bacterial infections, it was 85.7% and 66.6%. The sensitivity and specificity of Tzanck smear was respectively 85.0% and 83.33% for pemphigus; for bullous pemhigoid it was 11.11% and 100.0%. Tzanck smear sensitivity in genodermatoses was 100%. The sensitivity and specificity of the test in spongiotic dermatitis could not be calculated due to an insufficient number of patients. Conclusion: The Tzanck smear is a quick and reliable tool for the evaluation of various erosive and vesiculobullous skin lesions.


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