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Case Reports

This guide provides an overview of case reports and guidelines for writing them.

What are CARE Guidelines

The CARE guidelines (CAse REports) were developed by an international group of experts to improve the accuracy, transparency and usefulness of case reports. These guidelines have been endorse by numerous medical journals, including BMJ, a large publisher of case report articles. 

CARE: Case report guidelines (nd). What are the CARE guidelines

CARE Guidelines Checklist

These guidelines must be cited in your references.

CARE checklist. Published 2013. Accessed 2022.

Title Include the diagnosis and the words "case report"
Keywords Include 2-5 keywords associated with the diagnosis or intervention; include "case report"


(Does not include



What is unique about this case?

What does it add to scientific literature? 

  Main symptoms and/or important clinical findings
  The main diagnosis, therapeutic interventions and outcomes
  Conclusion: What is the main "take-away?"
Introduction One - two paragraphs summarizing the uniqueness of this case (may include references)
Patient information De-identified patient specific information
  Primary patient related concerns and symptoms 
  Relevant past medical history (include family and psycho-social)
  Relevant past interventions with outcomes
Clinical findings Significant physical examination and clinical findings
Timeline Historical and current information related to this case
Diagnostic assessment Diagnostic testing
  Diagnostic challenges
Therapeutic intervention Types of therapeutic intervention
  Administration of intervention
  Changes of intervention with rationale
Follow-up and outcomes Clinician and patient-assessed outcomes
  Important follow-up test results
  Intervention adherence and tolerance
  Adverse or unanticipated events
Discussion Strengths and limitations related to this case
  Discussion of relevant medical literature with references
  Scientific rationale for any conclusions (include assessment of possible causes)
  Primary "take-away" lessons (one paragraph)
Patient perspective Patient impressions of treatment (one - two paragraphs)
Informed consent Did the patient provide informed consent? Was consent requested?

BMJ Case Report Guidelines and Quick Tips

BMJ Case Reports is a premier open-access case reports journal. The ATSU Library pays for an institutional fellowship, enabling any ATSU-affiliated authors (including students!) to publish in BMJ Case Reports at no cost. Reach out to your liaison librarian for more information.

SCARE guidelines for surgical case reports

The SCARE Guidelines are separate guidelines designed to structure surgical case reports, and should be followed when writing a surgical case report. See the links below for more information.

KCOM Medical Librarian