Search strategies for retrieval of references to support a rapid literature review of health inequalities in stroke commissioned by the Stroke Association

  • Joshua David Cheyne (Creator)
  • Verity Longley (Creator)
  • Ramona Naicker (Creator)



Stroke association MEDLINEv2.1
Joshua David Cheyne (JDC), Ramona Naicker (RN), and Verity Longley (VL) editions.

This collection of search strategies was designed and constructed to support a rapid literature review on health inequalities in stroke commissioned by the Stroke Association, and to identify the knowns and unknowns about health inequalities in stroke care across the stroke pathway - from prevention, through treatment, to rehabilitation and long-term-care, as well as end-of-life. The protocol search strategy was designed for MEDLINE Ovid in December 2021 and January 2022, and adapted for use in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library, Embase Ovid, PsycINFO Ovid, and CINAHL EBSCO (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature).

The protocol search was designed and constructed using the MEDLINE Ovid platform and contains 38 separate search lines and incorporates a combination of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) from the National Library of Medicine, uncontrolled vocabulary/keywords in the Text Word (.tw) index field, and Boolean operators and proximity operators were used to maximise sensitivity and recall where available. The Text Word in the MEDLINE Ovid field includes both the Title (.ti) and Abstract (.ab) index fields. This high sensitivity search strategy consists of stroke healthcare and medicine terms (including transient ischaemic attack, cerebral small vessel disease, and subarachnoid haemorrhage), health inequalities and inequities terms and separate search lines for minority groups (lines 1-9, 10-18, and 19-34). Publication date were restricted to publication from 2009 onwards using date limiter functions.

The health inequalities terms are based on the following four lenses:
1. Socio-economic status and deprivation, for example unemployed, low income, people living in deprived areas (issues such as poor housing, poor education and/or unemployment).
2. Protected characteristics, including age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability.
3. Vulnerable groups of society, or “inclusion health” groups such as migrants, asylum seekers, Gypsy, Roma and traveller communities, rough sleepers and homeless people, sex workers, prisoners.
4. Geography–whether urban, rural or coastal.

The search strategies for MEDLINE Ovid, Embase Ovid, and CENTRAL/ CDSR in The Cochrane Library were written and adapted by JDC. CINAHL and APA PsycINFO search strategies were written and adapted by RN.
Date made available30 Oct 2022
PublisherEdinburgh DataShare
Geographical coverageUNITED KINGDOM,UK

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