Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®)

Medical Subject Headings, developed by the National Library of Medicine, is a comprehensive controlled vocabulary for the purpose of indexing biomedical publications. It also serves as a thesaurus that enables users to search biomedical resources.

The basic components of the thesaurus are descriptors and qualifiers. Descriptors are assigned to records of publications to indicate what the document is about; qualifiers can be added to descriptors to narrow down the topic. For example:

Stents – adverse effects

Polymorphism, Genetic – drug effects

Stomach Diseases – diagnosis

Medical Subject Headings include not only biomedical terms but also terms relating to geographic location and type of publication, for example:

Practice Guideline


Case Reports

MeSH thesaurus contains thousands of synonyms and closely related terms guiding the user to the most appropriate descriptor.

MeSH descriptors are arranged in a hierarchy. User can browse systematically the hierarchical trees from narrow concepts to broader ones.

Medical Subject Headings are used in MEDLINE®, PubMed®, many other information services and catalogues of medical libraries, including JU MC Medical Library (Polish-English version).

Simple Search AND Advanced Search>Subject


Simple Search>Subject in English or French