With a location like Colorado, we encounter a fair number of cases involving altitude sickness. HAPE or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema is one of the more severe types. How do you find the right articles when looking at the journal literature? The closest Medical Subject Heading for this condition is Altitude Sickness. The search “Altitude Sickness”[MeSH] retrieves at least 2740 citations in PubMed. Synonym keywords you might include for better coverage for your search: Altitude Sickness (2805), Altitude Sicknesses (1), Mountain Sickness (1184), Mountain Sicknesses (1) and you might have other phrases or wording that you might decide to use as well. If you want to focus on particular type of altitude sickness you might need to use keywords and phrases like: HAPE (329) or “high altitude pulmonary edema” (500) or “high altitude pulmonary oedema” (114). This table gives you an idea of how including different synonym phrases can affect the quality of your search retrieval.
|Just the MeSH term||“Altitude Sickness”[MeSH]||2740|
|MeSH with MeSH as keyword phrase and entry term synonyms||“Altitude Sickness”[MeSH] OR “Altitude Sickness” OR “Altitude Sicknesses” OR “Mountain Sickness” OR “Mountain Sicknesses”||3044|
|MeSH with MeSH as keyword phrase and entry term synonyms and other identified synonyms (there could still be more)||“Altitude Sickness”[MeSH] OR “Altitude Sickness” OR “Altitude Sicknesses” OR “Mountain Sickness” OR “Mountain Sicknesses” OR HAPE OR “high altitude pulmonary edema” OR “high altitude pulmonary oedema”||3274|
|Just keyword phrases for HAPE||HAPE OR “high altitude pulmonary edema” OR “high altitude pulmonary oedema”||665|
You can use PubMed’s Clinical Queries to limit any of the above searches to articles about Therapy, Etiology, Prognosis, Clinical Prediction Guides or Diagnosis with a Broad/Sensitive or Narrow/Specific focus. I’ll use the last example with just the keyword phrases for HAPE – Therapy B 163 | N 26, Etiology B 223 | N 15, Prognosis B 72 | N 5, Clinical Prediction Guides B 137 | N 5 or Diagnosis B 172 |N 4.
If you are looking for resources that may help explain this condition to a patient, MedlinePlus has several topics that may help.
Please feel free to comment on the post or contact me if you have clinical pearls, questions or great resource suggestions that we should consider for this column in HSLNews.
John.Jones@ucdenver.edu OR 303-724-2117