What exactly is a case report?

Definitions are readily available and generally agreed upon. For example:

“Case Report A report of a single case of a disease, usually with an unexpected presentation, which typically describes the findings, clinical course, and prognosis of the case, often accompanied by a review of other cases previously reported in the biomedical literature to put the reported case in context.” Or “In medicine, a case report is a detailed report of the symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case reports may contain a demographic profile of the patient, but usually describe an unusual or novel occurrence. Some case reports also contain a literature review of other reported cases.”

Now let us discuss the brass tacks of writing the actual case report by going through the individual sections that will comprise the manuscript. It should not exceed 350 words.

Title – The first page of the manuscript should be a dedicated title page, including the title of the article. The title should be a clear and short description of the case with a list of the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors. There should always be at least one corresponding author who is clearly identified. Abbreviations within the title should always be avoided.

Keywords- This section is comprised of three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article. It is important for indexing the manuscript.

Background/Introduction/- an introduction about why this case is important and needs to be reported. Should be concise and attract the reader’s attention. Describe the uniqueness of the case and how the case contributes to the existing literature. Is the message new and relevant to the medical imaging specialists?

Case presentation-brief details of what the patient(s) presented with, including the patient’s age, sex and ethnic background; clearly describe the current state of health and the medical history in chronological order. Provide detailed information about the clinical presentation and exams, including on visualization and laboratory research. Describe the treatment, follow-up and final diagnosis.

Discussion- This section should evaluate the patient case for accuracy, validity, and uniqueness and compare and contrast the case report with the published literature. The authors should briefly summarize the published literature with contemporary references.

Conclusions- a brief conclusion of what the reader should learn from the case report and what the clinical impact will be. Is it an original case report of interest to a particular clinical specialty of medicine or will it have a broader clinical impact across medicine? Are any teaching points identified?

References- Authors must search for and cite published case reports that are relevant to the case they are presenting. There should be no more than 5 references usually.

Figures and tables are limited to one table and two or three digits. Illustrations should be effective.


Abstract and case submission deadline is October 13

Submit your abstract here