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Medical case reports published in PubMed-indexed Indian journals in 2015: Adherence to 2013 CARE guidelines

Renju Ravi, Alhad Mulkalwar, Urmila M Thatte, Nithya J Gogtay

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2018.036


In 2013, an independent group of researchers developed the CARE guidelines, a checklist to standardise reporting of case reports. This study assesses adherence to CARE guidelines among PubMed-indexed Indian medical journals in 2015 and the extent of endorsement of these guidelines by the journals. Case reports published in 2015 in journals indexed by PubMed, belonging to the medical stream, currently active, and that had an impact factor were included for analysis. Case series and journals that were published from India but for another country were excluded. Total adherence score and classification of adherence as “excellent”, “very good”, “good”, and “poor” as also adherence to individual components of the checklist were the outcome measures. A total of 162 journals were identified by the search strategy, of which 36 satisfied the selection criteria. In these 36 journals, 1178 case reports were published. We tested the association between the type of journal and impact factor with adherence by using the chi-squared test and generated crude odds ratios. All analyses were done at 5% significance. Based on the total percent score, no case report had excellent adherence, and 19% had good, 70.7% average, and 10% poor adherence, respectively. Among the sub-items, the best adherence was seen in the clinical findings [97.9%], followed by keywords [88.5%], and introduction [71.5%]. The items with extremely poor adherence were patient perspective [0%], informed consent [2.8%], and timeline [4.6%]. Journals with an impact factor of more than 1 had better adherence, relative to those with an impact factor lower than 1. Only one journal’s website mentioned the CARE guidelines. Greater awareness needs to be created among authors, peer reviewers, and editors about using these guidelines. As informed consent is a metric of autonomy, all stakeholders must ensure its reporting.

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