Submit your case

1. General Information

The ERS e-Learning Resources publish clinical cases relating to all aspects of respiratory medicine. The cases do not need to relate to any particular, real patient but can also be constructed to illustrate pre-determined learning points about a particular condition.

Authors should adhere to the ICMJE authorship criteria in so far as they apply. These can be found at

Although the remit of the ERS e-Learning Resources is not to publish original research articles, articles should not be substantially identical to or derivative of work published elsewhere. The exception to this rule is when case is specifically and explicitly adapted from educational material first presented in another format.

Cases should be chosen for their clinical relevance and educational value, not for their rarity.

2. Patient consent and confidentiality

Any case report that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires the patient’s explicit consent before it can be published. Authors should be able to produce a patient consent form on request.
If consent cannot be obtained because the patient cannot be traced then publication will be possible only if the information can be sufficiently anonymised.

If the patient is deceased, the authors should seek permission from a relative.

If a patient may be identified from a photograph or other image, the patient must provide consent for publication.

Images – including, but not limited to, x rays, ultrasound images, or photos of undistinctive parts of the body – may be used without consent so long as they are anonymised by the removal of any identifying marks and are not accompanied by text that could reveal the patient’s identity.

3. Case content and structure

The case reports should make full use of measurements, laboratory results and images from diagnostic tests.  It should be presented in a chronological manner, interspersed with interactive questions and explanatory answers concerning the best way to proceed given the data so far, and possible diagnoses.  The case presentation should conclude with a discussion of the case in question and general topics related to it.

The case reports should include multiple choice questions for self-assessment and make use of multimedia to illustrate the learning points needed. At the end of the presentation, a short CME test will assess the user’s knowledge on the topic and if passed the user will be able to directly print out a CME certificate.

The whole module should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

The target structure of the case reports is as follows:

  1. Symptoms
    brief description of the patients appearance on the first visit, ideally accompanied with a video, alternatively with a picture
  2. History and examination
    description of the patient history and results of initial examinations
  3. Clinical diagnosis
    clinical diagnosis and justification
  4. Further investigations
    additional rests performed including, X-rays, CT, MRI, spirometry or any other test that is recommended to make the diagnosis, pictures, videos or sounds can be included
  5. Diagnosis
    conclusion of all tests and investigations
  6. Treatment
    brief description of the treatment and course of the disease
  7. Further reading
    one or two articles leading deeper into the topic
  8. CME accreditation test
    4-6 multiple choice questions testing the knowledge transferred by the case

In the sections 1-6, a couple of multiple choice questions should be included with comments for correct and wrong answers.

4. Peer review

Submitted cases will be peer-reviewed and may be reviewed by a member of the ERS Education council. The initial reviewer may involve external reviewers and may request changes to the original report from the authors.

5. Conflict of interest

All authors are expected to disclose any potential competing or conflicting interests when submitting a case report. Conflicts of interest will be published within the case report.

The ERS e-Learning Resources adhere to the European Respiratory Society's policy on tobacco industry funding, as detailed in Article X of the ERS Bylaws:

The ERS and the editors adhere to the European Respiratory Society policy on tobacco industry funding. The ERS does not accept contributions from authors who receive funding from the tobacco industry or from electronic nicotine delivery system companies that are wholly or partially owned by tobacco companies. Authors will be asked to disclose any funding and/or conflict of interest related to the tobacco industry. In the case of disclosure of a conflict of interest any time after January 1, 2000 by the person concerned, there will be a 5-year ban from the date of disclosure before that person is allowed to participate actively in an ERS event again. In the case of the discovery of a conflict of interest, which was not disclosed by the person concerned, there will be a ban for life from participating actively in any ERS activity, including all ERS publications and scientific and intellectual contributions of any type. The same principle will apply to any other real or perceived, direct or indirect links with the tobacco industry, such as the holding of shares, speaking at or attending meetings organised by the tobacco industry. Any person found to be maintaining a relationship (as defined above) with, or receiving funding from, the tobacco industry after January 1, 2013 will be banned for life from involvement in any ERS activity including membership, all ERS publications, scientific and intellectual contributions of any type.

On submission of a case report, authors will be asked if they comply with this policy.

6. Licence to publish

Submission of a case report implies that if it is accepted for publication, the authors automatically grant ERS an exclusive licence of the full period of copyright throughout the world to publish.

7. Reimbursement

Authors are offered a reimbursement of €150 once their case is accepted.

8. Suggestions that will help in constructing the ideal case:

  • First decide what the learning points will be. There should be about 2 or 3 for a case. They should be important and evidence based. They should be referenced from the literature. Where possible they should reflect current guidelines and reference them.
  • The case should be realistic. Therefore, it might be a good idea to base it on a real case but details can be changed to match the learning points.
  • Cases should include videos, sounds, illustrations, clinical photographs, radiographs, histology, raw data (original documents), etc where relevant.
  • The case should build up a picture of the clinical scenario and ask interactive questions relating to investigation, diagnosis and. 
  • Each question asked should be to illustrate a specific learning point that you have identified at the beginning of your case.
  • Relevant references should be given.
  • Before submitting your case, try it out on a member of staff at your institution and consider any improvements they may suggest.