History of Mastoidectomy: PubMed, Best Matches, Secondary References, and Inaccuracies.
PubMed is the world’s largest online collection of biomedical literature citations. A PubMed search (October 11, 2019) using the medical subject heading terms “history” and “mastoidectomy” was conducted. The heading “best matches” listed as first article “A brief history of mastoidectomy,” a very relevant free full text. The aim of this study is to validate or not the relevance attributed to this study as the first article listed in best matches.All the references of the article mentioned before 1860 were checked, further completed with other original sources, and studied again, with particular attention to their extracted quotes.Surprisingly, this article contains many inaccuracies, notably concerning Galen, Lucas van Leyden, Paré, Riolan the Younger, Justus von Berger, Jasser, Dezeimeris, Wilde and Toynbee. This was most certainly related to blind trust of some secondary references.Never trust secondary references. This article also raises questions on the validity and the relevance of the best matches algorithm in PubMed.