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How to Write a Conference Abstract

What is a Case Report Abstract?

Medical and clinical case reports (or “clinical vignettes”) are integral in recording unusual and rare cases of diseases, disorders, and injuries. They provide not only the details of a given case, but also briefly include background and establish the wider significance of a case in the medical literature.


Author Information

  • You should aim for completeness; Use full names and formal credentials; department and institution worked. The author information usually does NOT count against the total word count but be sure you check the instructions.
  • There may be a limit on how many authors can be on the submission.
  • The first author is the one who conceived the study and did most of the work; will be the person who presents. Sometimes you have to be a member of an association to submit an abstract, so check for those rules as well.
  • Full disclosure on sponsors.
  • Check how your abstract is being reviewed. Is it blind? You may see instructions like, To ensure blinded peer-review, no direct references to the author(s) or institution(s) of origin should be made anywhere in the title, body, tables or figures.

Writing a Title

Your best strategy in writing a title: Write the abstract first. Then pull out 6-10 key words or key phrases found in the abstract, and string them together into various titles. Brainstorm lots of keywords to help find the best mix.

  • Ideally 10-12 words long
  • Title should highlight the case​
  • Avoid low-impact phrases like ‘effect of... ‘ or ‘influence of…’; Do not include jargon or unfamiliar acronyms


  • 2-4 sentences long
  • Give clinical context
  • Explain the relevance or importance of this case.  Describe whether the case is unique. If not, does the case have an​ unusual diagnosis, prognosis, therapy or harm? Is the case an unusual presentation of a common condition? Or an unusual complication of a disease or management?​
  • Describe the instructive or teaching points that add value to this case. Does it demonstrate a cost-effective approach to management or​alternative diagnostic/treatment strategy? Does it increase awareness of a rare condition? 

Case Presentation

  • 8-10 sentences long
  • Use standard presentation format
  • Present the information chronologically​
  • Patient history; physical examination; investigations tried; clinical course
  • Describe the history, examination and investigations adequately. Is the cause of the patient's illness clear-cut? What are other plausible explanations?​
  • Describe the treatments adequately. Have all available therapeutic options been considered? Are outcomes related to treatments? Include the patient’s progress and outcome


  • 3-4 sentences long
  • ​Review the uniqueness of this case. Explain the rationale for reporting the case. What is unusual about the case? Does it challenge prevailing wisdom?​
  • Review any relevant literature. Describe how this case is different from those previously reported​
  • Impart any lessons learned. In the future, could things be done differently in a similar case