Completeness of reporting of case reports in high-impact medical journals

José A. Calvache, Maira Vera-Montoya, Darío Ordoñez, Adrian V. Hernandez, Douglas Altman, David Moher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Case reports represent a relevant, timely and important study design in advancing medical scientific knowledge. They allow integration between clinical practice and clinical epidemiology. We aimed to assess the completeness of reporting (COR) of case reports published in high-impact journals. We assessed the COR of case reports using the CARE guidelines. Materials and methods: We selected three high-impact journals and one journal specialized in publishing case reports, in which we included all published case reports from July to December 2017. Median COR score was calculated per study, and CORs were compared between journals with and without endorsement of CARE guidelines. Results: One hundred and fourteen case reports were included. Overall median COR was 81%, IQR [63%-96%]. Sections with the highest COR (84%-100%) were patient information, clinical findings, therapeutic intervention, follow-up and outcomes, discussion and informed consent. Sections with the lowest COR were title, keywords, timeline and patient perspective (2%-34%). COR was higher in journals endorsing in comparison to those not endorsing CARE guidelines (77% vs 65%), respectively, median difference = −12% 95% CI [−16% to −7%]. Discussion: Overall completeness of case reports in included journals is high especially for CARE endorsing and dedicated journals but reporting of some items could be improved. Ongoing and future evaluations of endorsement status of reporting guidelines in medical journals should be assessed to improve completeness and reduce waste of clinical research, including case reports.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere13215
Pages (from-to)e13215
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • case report
  • editorial policies
  • guideline adherence
  • guidelines as topics
  • publishing/standards


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