What is MeSH?


MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings which can be found in the MedLine database.  MeSH terms are the exact subject headings that have been assigned to an article based on its content.  For example, the MeSH subject heading for choking is “airway obstruction.”  If I’m searching Medline and enter “choking” as a search term, I might see 1,000 results.  However, if I enter “airway obstruction” and use the drop-down box to search for this term as an exact subject heading, I may see 10,000 results.  At other times, using the exact MeSH term will focus your search and produce fewer results.

To find the correct MeSH term for your topic, look for the link at the top of the page that says “MeSH Headings” in Medline, or “CINAHL Headings” in the CINAHL database.


  • Last Updated May 03, 2017
  • Views 26
  • Answered By Marcia Keith

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