JOÃO CARLOS PROLLA, M.D.
To the editor: The finding of Curschmann spirals by microscopic examination of sputum is generally considered to be almost pathognomonic of bronchial asthma, by most textbooks of clinical laboratory diagnosis, and even by a recent review on the constituents of sputum published by the ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE (1). They have been considered to be bronchiolar casts of twisted inspissated mucus. These two ideas are far from true.
The facts are that:  Curschmann spirals are a frequent (almost universal) nonspecific finding in the sputum of smokers, as shown by Fullmer and colleagues (2) and Walker and Fullmer (3); and
PROLLA JC. Curschmann Spirals in Cervical Mucus. Ann Intern Med. 1974;80:674–675. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-80-5-674
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(5):674-675.
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