PURPOSE: To assess the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) indexing of articles that employed time-to-event analyses to report outcomes of dental treatment in patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Articles published in 2008 in 50 dental journals with the highest impact factors were hand searched to identify articles reporting dental treatment outcomes over time in human subjects with time-to-event statistics (included, n = 95), without time-to-event statistics (active controls, n = 91), and all other articles (passive controls, n = 6,769). The search was systematic (kappa 0.92 for screening, 0.86 for eligibility). Outcome-, statistic- and time-related MeSH were identified, and differences in allocation between groups were analyzed with chi-square and Fischer exact statistics.
RESULTS: The most frequently allocated MeSH for included and active control articles were "dental restoration failure" (77% and 52%, respectively) and "treatment outcome" (54% and 48%, respectively). Outcome MeSH was similar between these groups (86% and 77%, respectively) and significantly greater than passive controls (10%, P < .001). Significantly more statistical MeSH were allocated to the included articles than to the active or passive controls (67%, 15%, and 1%, respectively, P < .001). Sixty-nine included articles specifically used Kaplan-Meier or life table analyses, but only 42% (n = 29) were indexed as such. Significantly more time-related MeSH were allocated to the included than the active controls (92% and 79%, respectively, P = .02), or to the passive controls (22%, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: MeSH allocation within MEDLINE to time-to-event dental articles was inaccurate and inconsistent. Statistical MeSH were omitted from 30% of the included articles and incorrectly allocated to 15% of active controls. Such errors adversely impact search accuracy.
- Abstracting and Indexing as Topic
- Dental Care
- Dental Restoration Failure
- Kaplan-Meier Estimate
- Life Tables
- Medical Subject Headings
- Survival Analysis
- Treatment Outcome