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June 26, 1972

Preintubation Pap Smears of Vocal Cords and Larynx

JAMA. 1972;220(13):1743. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200130071022

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To the Editor.—  We note in the QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS section of your March 27th issue that Dr. Sam Nixon of Floresville, Tex, is interested in the possibility of early diagnosis of laryngeal carcinoma by routine swabbing of the vocal cords, prior to intubation, by the anesthesiologist. Dr. William J. Fable of Richmond, Va, answered that this could very well be done if an interested anesthesiologist were to be found.We, in fact, are very interested in the development of diagnostic procedures for the early detection of unsuspected airway cancers in anesthetized patients undergoing routine surgery. Procedures which might be tedious in the awake subject become simple under narcosis. Since 1969, we have been conducting a research project for the early diagnosis of bronchogenic carcinoma during general endotracheal anesthesia. Through the support of various grants we have been able to maintain a fully staffed cytology laboratory on the operating room