The Anaesthesia Case Report (ACRE) checklist: a tool to promote high-quality reporting of cases in peri-operative practice.
Case reports have fulfilled an important role in the development of anaesthesia and continue to be highly relevant to modern practice. Despite this, they are sometimes criticised for being insufficiently rigorous to meaningfully inform clinical practice or research design. Reporting checklists are a useful tool to improve rigour in research and, although case report checklists have previously been developed, no existing checklist focuses on the peri-operative setting. In order to address the need for a case reports checklist that better accommodates peri-operative care, we used an established tool as the basis for developing the 12-item Anaesthesia Case Report checklist. This was refined using an iterative approach through feedback from journal editors with experience of handling case reports, patient and public involvement, and trialling its use on Anaesthesia Reports submissions. The Anaesthesia Case Report checklist differs from existing checklists by aligning with peri-operative practice; it places less emphasis on making diagnoses and focuses on the way in which clinical challenges, for example, related to the patient’s comorbidities or operative interventions, are addressed. Adopting a standardised approach to the content of case reports presents clear benefits to authors, editors and peer reviewers through streamlining the processes involved in writing and publication. The Anaesthesia Case Report checklist provides a pragmatic framework for comprehensive and transparent reporting. We hope it will facilitate the authorship of high-quality case reports with the potential to further improve the quality and safety of peri-operative care.