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Table 4 Candidate search terms for EMBASE

From: Identifying observational studies of surgical interventions in MEDLINE and EMBASE

Search Term Reference Standard retrieved (N = 191) Total retrieved (N = 1521) Sensitivity Precision Specificity
Controlled Thesaurus Terms
Case report/ 1 348 0.5 0.3 73.9
Clinical trial/ 23 131 12.0 17.6 91.9
Cohort analysis/ 3 9 1.6 33.3 99.5
Comparative study/ 13 39 6.8 33.3 98.0
Controlled study/ 79 309 41.4 25.6 82.7
Follow-up study/ 45 212 23.6 21.2 87.4
Major clinical study/ 106 308 55.5 34.4 84.8
Prospective study/ 22 74 11.5 29.7 96.1
Retrospective study/ 29 108 15.2 26.8 94.1
Treatment outcome/ 88 447 46.1 19.7 73.0
Textwords (.tw)
baseline 16 47 8.4 34.0 97.7
case control$ 3 9 1.6 33.3 99.5
case series 27 122 14.1 22.1 92.9
cases 38 201 19.9 18.9 87.7
chang$ 51 297 26.7 17.2 81.5
cohort 8 19 4.2 42.1 99.2
compar$ or compara$ 90 287 47.1 31.4 85.2
consecutive$ 51 142 26.7 35.9 93.2
evaluat$ 96 425 50.3 22.6 75.3
follow$ 50 259 26.2 19.3 84.3
non compara$ or noncompara$ 13 78 6.8 16.7 95.1
non random$ or nonrandom$ 19 46 9.9 41.3 98.0
observational 3 20 1.6 15.0 98.7
postoperat$ or post operat$ 91 494 47.6 18.4 69.7
preoperat$ or pre operat$ 101 418 52.9 24.2 76.2
prospective$ 56 195 29.3 28.7 89.5
retrospective$ 61 223 31.9 27.3 87.8
reviewed 20 66 10.5 30.3 96.5
EMTREE and/or Textword (.mp)
cohort$ 8 21 4.2 38.1 99.0
compare$ or compara$ 90 297 47.1 30.3 84.4
follow$ 61 325 31.9 18.8 80.1
prospective$ 57 200 29.8 28.5 89.2
retrospective$ 64 233 33.5 27.5 87.3
postoperat$ or post operat$ 123 827 64.4 14.9 47.1
preoperat$ or pre operat$ 106 491 55.5 21.6 71.1
  1. Key
  2. / EMTREE term
  3. tw Text word(s) from title and/or abstract fields
  4. mp Term from EMTREE and/or title and/or abstract fields.
  5. $ Truncation symbol