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Physician Assistant Studies: PubMed

Research resources and search tips for UAB Surgical PA students

About PubMed

PubMed indexes 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences.

PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Search PubMed

Useful MeSH Terms & Subheadings

  • Start with disease or condition & apply surgery subheading:
    • "Coronary Artery Disease/surgery"
    • "Osteoarthritis, Knee/surgery"
  • For surgery, use “Surgical Procedures, Operative”
  • May narrow to specific operations:
    • "Angioplasty"
    • "Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee"
  • Subheadings: "adverse effects," "methods," "trends"
  • "Intraoperative Complications"
  • "Postoperative Complications"


Sign up for a My NCBI account to save searches and articles, set preferences like highlighting search terms, and customize search filters. See videos and handouts above to learn more.

How PubMed Works

PubMed indexes articles using controlled vocabulary, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). The search engine uses automatic term mapping to map your search terms to the appropriate MeSH terms. You can see the MeSH terms for an article in Abstract view. To start searching, just enter your search terms in the basic search box. You can check how your search was mapped in the "Details" box on the right side of the search result lists. Advanced search and MeSH search options are also available. See tutorials in left sidebar on this page.


PubMed Search Tips

  • Check the Search details box
  • Use the Advanced Search page to see your search history and rerun searches
  • Use MeSH headings and subheadings to focus search
  • Apply filters (age groups, publication type, etc.) to focus your search
  • Combine searches with AND or OR on Advanced Search page
  • View Related citations to expand your search
  • Use My NCBI to save searches or citations
  • Consider Clinical Queries
  • Access available full text articles with the Full Text@UAB Libraries button.
  • Remember PubMed does not include everything
  • Ask a Librarian if you get stuck!

PubMed Result List

From a search results list, you can change the number of results on each page, send your results to EndNote, or email them. ​You can also use the search filters on the top right to see a subset of the results.

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