Submission Guidelines for Brief Case Column


  • Clinical vignette on any topic applicable to the practicing hospitalist.
  • "Zebra" diagnoses are not our aim. While rare diagnoses will certainly be considered, we prefer nuances or management issues as they pertain to more commonly encountered diagnoses.
  • We do not publish case reports. Even if rare, the cases published discuss established diagnoses, complications, or associations.



  • No longer than 10 words.
  • Should indicate vignette focus/teaching point, i.e., no ambiguous or "cute" titles.

The Patient

  • Suggested goal of approximately 150-200 words; may be one or two paragraphs at author's discretion.
  • Should be a succinct synthesis of presenting symptoms, relevant past medical history, and admission examination/laboratory testing/imaging directly relevant to the discussion.
  • Use of past tense is preferred.
  • Any characteristics that could potentially be used to identify patients should be changed.
  • For laboratory tests, specific numeric values must be followed with appropriate units, and normal reference ranges when appropriate. However, it is often unnecessary to use specific values. For example WBC 37,000 with 23% bands can be simply stated as "leukocytosis with bandemia."

The Diagnosis

  • Suggested goal of approximately ~200 words; may be one or two paragraphs at author's discretion.
  • Should clearly state the diagnosis (preferably in the opening sentence of this section) and make succinct teaching points relevant to the case.
  • Specific article references are not necessary.
  • Use of present tense is preferred.


  • Suggested goal of approximately 25 words per pearl.
  • Succinct, bullet-point recapitulation of 2 teaching points—i.e., the main lesson(s) of the vignette.
  • Use of present tense is preferred.


  • Individual: Approximately 400-500 words per vignette (150-200 for The Patient, 200 for The Diagnosis, and 50 for Pearls).
  • Institution: Same number of words per case as individual submissions; 4 or 5 cases, for a total of 1,600-2,000 words.


  • Overuse of acronyms should be avoided and should be specified on initial use—i.e., hypertriglyceridemic pancreatitis (HTGP).
  • Text should be submitted in 12-point, Times New Roman font.


  • Individual and institutional submissions are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
  • Because planning occurs several months in advance of publication, submissions may not be reviewed immediately upon receipt.
  • Editors will identify a case/installment as generally appropriate or inappropriate for our publication and authors will be informed of this decision. For submissions found appropriate, cases will be returned to authors with edits, suggestions for re-writes, and questions. The extent of such edits may alter the intended publication date of the case/installment.
  • Authors are responsible for returning edits by deadlines provided by the editors.
  • Case authors transfer copyright to ACP, but they may present their work elsewhere or create derivative works without requesting permission as long as the original source is credited. To republish a Brief Case section or an individual case exactly as it appeared in ACP Hospitalist, permission must be requested from ACP.