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Development of a validated search filter for Ovid Embase for degenerative cervical myelopathy.

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Mowforth, Oliver D 
Kuhn, Isla 
Kotter, Mark RN 
Davies, Benjamin M 


BACKGROUND: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a recently proposed umbrella term for symptomatic cervical spinal cord compression secondary to degeneration of the spine. Currently literature searching for DCM is challenged by the inconsistent uptake of the term 'DCM' with many overlapping keywords and numerous synonyms. OBJECTIVES: Here, we adapt our previous Ovid medline search filter for the Ovid embase database, to support comprehensive literature searching. Both embase and medline are recommended as a minimum for systematic reviews. METHODS: References contained within embase identified in our prior study formed a 'development gold standard' reference database (N = 220). The search filter was adapted for embase and checked against the reference database. The filter was then validated against the 'validation gold standard'. RESULTS: A direct translation was not possible, as medline indexing for DCM and the keywords search field were not available in embase. We also used the 'focus' function to improve precision. The resulting search filter has 100% sensitivity in testing. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: We have developed a validated search filter capable of retrieving DCM references in embase with high sensitivity. In the absence of consistent terminology and indexing, this will support more efficient and robust evidence synthesis in the field.


Funder: Royal College of Surgeons of England; Id:


embase, medline, data mining, indexing, information retrieval, literature searching, review and systematic search, review, systematic, search strategies, Humans, Spinal Cord Diseases, Information Storage and Retrieval, MEDLINE, Data Mining

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Health Info Libr J

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National Institute for Health Research (CS‐2015‐15‐023)