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Case Study Publishing Guide
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Case Study Publishing Guide

Patient History

A short synopsis of clinical information about the patient. Focus should be on creating a patient profile that justifies and informs the decision to have a surgical intervention or autopsy and is relevant to the ultimate diagnosis.

Points to Consider:

  • With what symptoms did the patient present?
  • What did any biopsies or previous surgeries reveal?
  • What are different avenues of treatment that could have been explored and why was this one specifically explored?

Materials and Methods/Hospital Course:

A summary of the pathological diagnosis procedure, with special attention paid to the role of the Pathologists’ Assistant.

Points to Consider:

  • What procedure was specifically done?
  • What were the relevant gross findings?
  • Were any special techniques used in grossing the specimen?
  • What sections were taken? 
  • What was the justification for these sections? 
  • CAP Protocol
  • Question specific to the case
  • Common convention


An outline of the microscopic and ancillary testing results, which connects the final diagnosis with the role of the PA in grossing the specimen. 

Points to Consider:

  • What did the microscopic results reveal?
  • Were additional gross sections called for and why? 
  • How did the gross description or sections affect the staging? 
  • Were any special stains ordered and what did they reveal?
  • Was any molecular testing done, what did it reveal, and why was it done?
  • What was the justification for any ancillary studies?  


A summary of the case with takeaway points with an analysis of the current scientific literature. Ideally, a Pathologists’ Assistant reading the paper should come away with increased knowledge of a disease process, an applicable skill, or a better appreciation for the grossing technique or ancillary testing of similar cases. This is also an appropriate place to discuss what further studies are warranted. 

Points to Consider:

  • What is written about this disease in the literature? 
  • How does the available literature on the topic relate to the gross approach to the specimen or case?
  • How does the available literature support that the case is publication worthy? (Rare disease, atypical presentation, scarcity of studies) 
  • What are the take away points, specifically for Pathologists’ Assistants in their own practice?
  • Is there anything that in retrospect could have been done differently or better? 
  • As pathology practices vary widely, could this case have been approached in a different way?
  • Why was the chosen way of grossing ideal for the case?
  • Would alternate grossing methodologies be appropriate in different circumstances?
  • How could this be applied to future similar cases? 
  • Is there any call for additional research, especially within the gross or PA fields?
The AAPA is an approved provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences through the ASCLS PACE program.
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