PubMed Search for EE+ Evidence Summary

2014-12-10, updated 2021-21-01

The Evidence Summary tool is used in the process of updating Essential Evidence Topics. It searches for all recent articles within EE+ that may be relevant to a given EE Topic. In some cases, a search of PubMed is also performed to identify relevant recent studies. This document presents details of the PubMed search and records the search strategies that are used to search PubMed.

When a PubMed search is performed

When a manual Evidence Summary is performed, the user has the option of performing a PubMed search; this option is disabled by default. When an automated Evidence Summary is generated, a PubMed search will only be performed if the "annual" mode is specified.

Search string used in the PubMed search

Each EE Topic is indexed on a set of keywords; one or more of these keywords is flagged as “primary” keywords. When a manual Evidence Summary is performed, the user selects one or more of these keywords to use in generating the Evidence Summary ("primary" keywords are pre-selected defaults). For the PubMed portion of the search, the user has the option of using either the same selected keywords or a user-input search string in the PubMed search.

When an automated Evidence Summary is generated with the mode specified as "annual", the "primary" keywords are used in the PubMed Search.

If more than one keyword is selected, the individual keywords are quoted and joined with the "OR" keyword by default. This can be changed to "AND" by the user.

Categories used in the PubMed search

Several independent PubMed searches are performed for different categories. The categories are documented below. Because each category search is independent, there may be some duplication of articles between the sections.

Presentation of PubMed search results

Each category that has one or more results is displayed as a separate section in the Evidence Summary. Results are sorted in reverse chronological order. Each section is restricted to the 20 most recent results.

Core Search Strategy

We begin with a search of "High Impact" journals, defined as the Abridged Index Medicus (AIM) subset plus about 20 other selected journals. Initial searches are limited to studies with an abstract, related to humans, and in English:

hasabstract[text] AND humans[MH] AND English[lang] AND (jsubsetaim[text] OR "Ann Fam Med"[jour] OR "Br J Gen Pract"[jour] OR "Fam Pract"[jour] OR "J Gen Intern Med"[jour] OR "Acad Emerg Med"[jour] OR "Age Ageing"[jour] OR "Am J Emerg Med"[jour] OR "Am J Gastroenterol"[jour] OR "Birth"[jour] OR "BMC Fam Pract" OR "BMC Med"[jour] OR "Br J Psychiatry"[jour] OR "Diabetes"[jour] OR "Eur Heart J"[jour] OR "J Clin Epidemiol"[jour] OR "J Am Acad Dermatol"[jour] OR "J Am Geriatr Soc"[jour] OR "Lancet Infect Dis"[jour] OR "Scand J Gastroenterol"[jour] OR "Scand J Infect Dis"[jour] OR "Sex Transm Infect"[jour] OR "Stroke"[jour] OR "Thorax"[jour]) OR “Health Technol Assess”[jour] OR “J Invest Dermatol”[jour] OR “Acad Emerg Med”[jour] OR “BMC Medicine”[jour]

Category Strategies

The core search strategy is then supplemented by the following specific searches for each category. SEARCH_STRING represents the search string used in the search, for example "type 2 diabetes" or "cough". Portions of the strategy that are common to all categories have been de-emphasized for readability.

Search Category Search Strategy
Practice Guidelines (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND (("guideline*"[ti] OR "practice parameter"[ti] OR "clinical guidance"[ti] OR "recommendation statement"[ti]) NOT ("adherence"[ti] OR "adherent"[ti] OR "concordant"[ti] OR "discordant"[ti] OR "guideline-based"[ti] OR "guideline based"[ti] OR "validation"[ti]))
General Therapy (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ("randomized controlled trial"[pt] OR (randomized[tiab] AND controlled[tiab] AND trial[tiab]))
General Diagnosis (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ("sensitivity and specificity"[MH] OR "likelihood ratio*"[tiab] OR (sensitiv*[tiab] AND specific*[tiab]) OR "predictive value*"[tiab] OR "ROC curve"[tiab] OR "area under the receiver operating"[tiab] OR AUROCC[tiab])
Prognosis (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND (prognos*[Title] AND cohort[Title/Abstract])
Natural History
(one of two strategies are considered, depending on the number of results)
(SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ("natural history"[tiab] OR "usual course"[tiab] OR "typical course"[tiab] OR "expected course"[tiab])

(SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY)AND ("natural history"[tiab])
Prevention (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ("systematic review"[ti] OR guideline[tiab] OR meta-analysis[pt])
Clinical Decision Rules (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ("clinical prediction rule"[ti] OR "clinical score"[ti] OR "decision rule"[ti] OR "diagnostic rule"[ti] OR "diagnostic score*"[ti] OR "predictive rule*"[ti] OR "predictive score*"[ti] OR "prediction rule*"[ti] OR "prediction score*"[ti] OR "risk score*"[ti])
Systematic Reviews (SEARCH_STRING) AND (CORE STRATEGY) AND ((systematic[sb] OR "systematic review"[ti] OR "meta-analysis"[ti] or "Meta-Analysis"[pt]) NOT "Cochrane Database Syst Rev"[tiab]) NOT "PROTOCOL"