The editorial board of Anesthesia & Analgesia is excited to announce the online publication of the inaugural issue of our companion journal, A&A Case Reports, on October 7, 2013. A&A Case Reports is an entirely new venue devoted exclusively to publishing cases that are educational and unusual. Case reports have advanced patient care throughout our history. Editorials written by Steven L. Shafer, MD, in the March issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia (“Anesthesia & Analgesia Case Reports”), by James C. Eisenach, MD, in the March issue of Anesthesiology (“Case Reports Are Leaving ANESTHESIOLOGY, But Not the Specialty”), and by Lawrence J. Saidman, MD, in the first issue of A&A Case Reports (“Welcome to A&A Case Reports”) cite classic examples of reports that led to major breakthroughs. Case reports have warned us about drug toxicities and equipment failures. Case reports have introduced novel anesthetic techniques and disseminated information about coexisting diseases and perioperative risks. As anesthesiologists, we should hold case reports in highest esteem. After all, our specialty began with one (“Insensibility During Surgical Operations Produced by Inhalation”)
Case reports have launched many academic careers as our specialty’s clinician-scientists have diligently pursued the answer to “the puzzle posed by an unusual observation in a single patient” (“Welcome to A&A Case Reports”). The Editor-in-Chief of the new journal, Lawrence J. Saidman, MD, cites a personal example of this phenomenon. In 1964, JAMA published his case report documenting the metabolic derangements and response to treatment in a patient who became hyperthermic, hypercarbic, and acidotic after receiving halothane (“Hyperthermia during Anesthesia”). This clinical presentation later came to be known as “malignant hyperthermia”. Indeed, the case report that launched our specialty is considered to be the most important article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in its 200-year history (“Insensibility During Surgical Operations Produced by Inhalation”).
Despite the obvious clinical importance of case reports, the editorials written by Drs. Shafer, Saidman, and Eisenach explain the reluctance of most prestigious journals to publish them. Case reports “drag down” a journal’s impact factor because they are not cited as frequently as original research reports, reviews, editorials, and other types of publications. Rightly or wrongly, “the impact factor is the standard metric used by authors, readers, promotion committees, and journal owners to judge the quality of the journal (“Anesthesia & Analgesia Case Reports”). For this reason, despite considerable angst among the editorial board members of both journals, a major announcement appeared in their respective March issues as Anesthesiology announced that it will no longer publish case reports (effective January 2013) and Anesthesia & Analgesia announced that it will no longer accept case reports for publication (effective November 2013).
But this is good news ― really, it is! In those same March announcements, Dr. Shafer’s editorial in Anesthesia & Analgesia heralded the creation of a new journal, A&A Case Reports, while Dr. Eisenach’s editorial in Anesthesiology applauded this welcome addition to our specialty. The goal of the new journal is to publish 4-6 case reports online every other week. Many reports will be enhanced by an expert’s “Editorial Comments”, which provide clinical context. This will give the reader immediate insight regarding the potential importance of the report. The standards for A&A Case Reports remain high with an acceptance rate slightly less than 25%. However, this is far higher than the 5% acceptance rate for case reports in Anesthesia & Analgesia where the lofty standard of being “truly exceptional” resulted in the rejection of most. The only downside for authors publishing in A&A Case Reports is the delay in MEDLINE-PubMed indexing, which likely will occur in 2014.
A&A Case Reports is written by and for clinicians. Our Editor-in-Chief, Lawrence Saidman, MD, asks that you please read the new journal. He invites you to share your thoughts and become an active participant as a reader, correspondent, and author. Take a look at the first issue. See if you agree that his invitation is impossible to refuse, because the reports are absolutely fascinating!
AA2day will also will report on articles that we find of interest for our readers.