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Author Guidelines for Case Reports


A case report is a detailed narrative that describes, for medical, scientific, or educational purposes, a medical problem experienced by one or several patients. Case reports have long been an important source of new ideas and information in medicine in the discovery of what works (or does not work) and for whom. David Riley, associate editor for case reports for Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal led the development of the CARE guidelines—reporting guidelines for case reports.1


The CARE guidelines, a 13-item checklist, is available on the Equator Network, the library of essential resources for writing and publishing health research. When writing a case report, it is probably best to begin with the timeline (item 7). Practitioners generally use informal timelines when treating patients. Timelines provide an historical overview that organizes the relevant information from a patient’s case into an easy-to-view visual format. Once a timeline has been completed, the case report can be written with greater ease. Click here to download the pdf for timeline guidance.


Case reports, usually published online, should have an abstract and timeline and commonly range in length from 1500 to 2500 words not including references. We welcome the inclusion of multimedia content with submitted case report manuscripts.


Case reports are typically used to communicate unusual or noteworthy findings in clinical practice. These can include issues related to assessment or diagnosis of conditions such as new or rare diseases or unusual presentation of common diseases; novel diagnostic or assessment procedures; or a discussion of differential diagnoses. Issues related to treatment may include new treatments or established treatments in new situations; treatment of rare conditions; unique technical procedures; unexpected positive outcomes; or adverse events or unanticipated responses.


Guidelines for the Formatting of a Case Report. Please follow the CARE guidelines checklist available at whenever appropriate.


Title and Key Words. The title should include the words “case report” and describe the subject and focus of the case report. Include 3 to 7 key words.


Abstract. The abstract headings should follow those of the text of the case report (Introduction, Case Presentation, Discussion), and should summarize each section of the case report in 1 or 2 sentences.


Timeline. Please include a timeline showing important dates and times if possible (strongly recommended).


Main Text. The text should contain the following information (when relevant):


  • Introduction: Briefly describe the background, context, and rationale for the case report, explaining what makes this case report important, interesting, or noteworthy.
  • Case Presentation: Give a brief overview of the client's presentation and treatment goals. Include key demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and occupation.
  • Presenting concerns. Include patient characteristics (key demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and occupation) and the patient’s presenting concerns. Include relevant symptoms, signs, and diagnostic testing information.
  • Therapeutic Intervention and Treatment. Describe type(s) of intervention (eg, pharmacologic, surgical, self care); intervention administration and intensity (eg, dosage, strength, duration, frequency).
  • Follow-up and Outcomes. Include any changes in interventions and reasons, as well as intervention tolerability, and subsequent interventions. Include clinician-assessed outcomes and patient-reported outcomes, whenever appropriate. Please include all relevant follow-up test results.
  • Discussion. Discuss this case in the context of what is already known from clinical practice and the medical literature. Summarize what was learned from the case report and whether this generates hypotheses for future research or has implications for clinical practice guidelines.

    Additional information


  • Patient Perspective. The patient may share his or her perspective on the case.
  • Ethical Considerations. Authors should disclose competing interests.
    1. Informed consent: Was written informed consent received from the patient? This should be described in the body of the text. If so, provide documentation if requested.
    2. Ethics approval: If ethics committee or Institutional Review Board approval was received, please provide details.
  • Tables/Figures. Refer to submission guidelines when formatting tables and figures.
  • References. Refer to submission guidelines when formatting references.

    Case Series. If a series of cases are presented, include all patients seen or treated and describe how the patients included in your presentation were selected. The guidelines for case reports above should be followed.


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