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EDITORIAL Table of Contents  
Ahead of print publication
The impact of case reports in medical science

 Department of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

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Date of Submission15-Jul-2020
Date of Decision04-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance16-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication16-Sep-2020

How to cite this URL:
Khandelwal A. The impact of case reports in medical science. Bali J Anaesthesiol [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Apr 22]. Available from: https://www.bjoaonline.com/preprintarticle.asp?id=295207

It is surprising that most reputed journals are now jettisoning case reports, which indeed have been the quintessence of generating and disseminating medical and scientific knowledge in the history of medical science. It could be well due to lesser citations involved with case reports and the possibility of reporting similar information in the form of correspondence or letter to editor. However, until now, information on various rare diseases, pros and cons of various drugs, and extremely novel medical, surgical, or anesthetic management has been possible only through case reports. Case reports and case series have tremendously influenced clinical practice by providing valued information on the various spectrums of disease management such as prehospital resuscitation and rehabilitation apart from natural history, etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapeutic intervention of rare conditions. Moreover, the “Do's and Don'ts” of various diseases, especially in anesthesia practice, have been widely possible through case reports. As such, the modern practice of abruptly abandoning publication of case reports limits many clinicians across the world to report rare findings of diseases or drugs and medical, surgical, or anesthetic management.

Case reports have irrefutable value for the education process by generating scientific hypotheses and stimulating further research. Only when a hypothesis is proposed, clinical trials can be performed. Moreover, a case report is the first step in a researcher's life and provides a platform on which clinicians build blocks of experiences and eventually performing and writing clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis. Again, clinicians working in remote areas and peripheries do encounter patients with rare diseases and side effects of drugs. However, since they lack resources and facilities for performing clinical trials, case reports serve as an essential source to transfer information to the medical fraternity. Again, “Correspondences” are reasonable alternatives but not a replacement for case reports as it is sometimes impossible to describe a case or a condition in 500–600 words with limited references. As such, thorough information tends to be subdued. Case reports provide ample scope for a detailed discussion of a report, including a brief or mini-review of literature. Case reports are highly sensitive for detecting novelty and providing new ideas and discoveries, which is the basis of all scientific advancement.

In anesthesia per se, lots of information have been achieved through case reports and case series. Knowledge of various rare complications (malignant hyperthermia), anesthetic management of various syndromes and genetic disorders, drug toxicities, and various novelties and advancement in anesthetic technique (especially airway related) have been possible through case reports. Thus, case reports and case series have contributed tremendously to medical science and will continue to do so. As such, journals should permit novel and unique case reports, or there should be separate subsection of journals dedicated to case reports.

Correspondence Address:
Ankur Khandelwal,
Department of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/BJOA.BJOA_145_20


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