CareSearch has developed and validated a Heart Failure Search Filter for use in PubMed, the free online version of Medline. The filter is available in the Clinical Evidence section of the CareSearch website. To use the search filter, searchers need only click on a hyperlink. This launches a current search for English language heart failure literature within the PubMed database.
What's a search filter?
A search filter is a search strategy for identifying the relevant information within a larger pool of relevant and irrelevant information. A search filter is more than an expert searcher’s best attempt at finding everything in an area of interest. It is an experimentally derived, tested and validated tool with a known level of performance in whichever database it was created for.
Why heart failure in palliative care?
There is evidence that heart failure patients and their carers may have unmet palliative and end-of-life care needs in relation to symptom-oriented palliation, advance care planning, and psychological and social support.  These care issues are especially important in light of the heavy symptom burden and uncertain disease trajectory associated with the condition.
Why use a Heart Failure Filter?
Clinicians providing heart failure care require ongoing, timely access to the best available research evidence to inform their practice. Finding relevant literature when needed can be difficult due to the vast amount of literature available, different ways of accessing it, a lack of time to invest in the task, and a real or perceived lack of searching skills.
A heart failure search filter is a tool that can improve search efficiency by providing an easy-to-use, standardised shortcut to clinically relevant literature. CareSearch has experience in the empirical development of search filters. It previously developed a palliative care search filter for retrieving the diffuse palliative care literature. 
The Heart Failure PubMed Searches
The Heart Failure Search Filter has also been combined with 40 ‘expert’ searches on topics of relevance to both heart failure and palliative care, e.g. device deactivation, dyspnoea, and advance care planning. These Heart Failure PubMed Searches are also available as one-click hyperlinks on the CareSearch website.
Each PubMed search provides options for limiting the search in a way that has value to the searcher. These options are:
- free full text only
- highest level evidence only (i.e. randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews)
- citations added to PubMed in the last three months only
The short animated demonstration "How to Run a Heart Failure PubMed Search" is available at the top right hand side of this page.
Searchers can also follow the simple instructions provided here to use the Heart Failure Search Filter in creating their own search on a topic of interest.
How was the Heart Failure Search Filter developed?
The Heart Failure Search Filter was originally developed for the OvidSP Medline database following a strict research methodology. A research article describing the methodology has been published in the peer reviewed journal BMC Medical Research Methodology.  A translation of the OvidSP Medline Heart Failure Search Filter to PubMed ensures it is freely accessible, the methodology is available in a peer reviewed paper. 
The OvidSP Medline heart failure search filter is available to clinicians who prefer to search using this interface. This search filter can be typed into the Medline search box, exactly as shown below, and then saved for recurrent use.
Heart failure.mp. or ventricular dysfunction, left.sh. or cardiomyopathy.mp. or left ventricular ejection fraction.mp.