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Searching PubMed with Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Tools: Home

PubMed searches often yield a high volume of results. PubMed subject headings (MeSH) often yield fewer more reelvant results. These MeSH tools streamline PubMed subject searches

Searching PubMed often yields an enormous set of irrelvalent results. This guide introduces tools which streamline subject searching to yield fewer more relevant results.

As outlined in the box below, Medical Subject Headings [MeSH] work well in pulling together synonyms for a concept or term.
However MeSH terms may not be available for newer concepts and many nonmedical terms.  They also do not find articles, generally 6 months or newer, that have not yet been assigned MeSH headings.
MeSH terms are invaluable when one first searches for words and phrases and finds hundreds if not thousands of results.


Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) is the U.S. National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary.

  • It is used for indexing articles for MEDLINE/PubMed.
  • MeSH terminology provides a consistent way to retrieve information that may use different terminology for the same concepts. 
  • It pulls together all articles on a concept including synonyms (myocardial infarction/heart attack) and allows for spelling variations (estrogen/oestrogen).
  • The MesH database link may be found at the Pubmed home page under Resources.

  • It may also be found at the Advanced Search page by scrolling down to More Resources.

When searching for a MeSH term (as Heart), the results will include

  • Subheadings
    (if none are selected, results will include results with or without the subheadings;
    if two(2) or more are selected, then results will include only citations that include all the subheadings selected)

  • Entry terms (MeSH synonyms, as Hearts for MeSH term heart)

Refine a search through these options

  • See also terms  (as Myocardium  for MeSH term Heart)

Example of a Detailed MeSH Search:

Mesh Tools

PubMed can be searched directly with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). For more information on this option, see the LibGude section Using PubMed (including MeSH) .

Alternatively PubMed may be searched with MeSH tools including