Abstracts FAQs | Association of Anaesthetists

Abstracts FAQs

Abstract submission frequently asked questions

Which conferences do you accept abstracts to?

The Association accepts abstracts to all our major conferences (WSM, Trainee Conference and Annual Congress). Top scoring abstracts will be either invited to display a poster or present their work orally during the conference.

When is the submission deadline for abstracts?

The deadlines for submission of abstracts for Association of Anaesthetists meetings are available here. Under no circumstances will an abstract be accepted after the stated deadline. 

Is there a word limit for the abstract?

The maximum length of an abstract is 2,500 characters, including spaces; this count excludes the abstract title (maximum 300 characters) and references (maximum 2 references and 500 characters). As a guide, using this character count, your whole abstract inclusive of one table or figure (if applicable) should fit within a space 8 cm wide and 23 cm long. View a list of past abstract publications

Which category should I submit my abstract to?

Audit - comparison of practice against a local or national standard. Ideally the audit cycle should be completed or the intention to do so demonstrated.

Quality improvement - systematic processes of continuous analysis and improvement of the quality of healthcare, irrespective of the starting point.

Survey - ascertainment of views/practices of staff or patients that are not routinely collected.

Original research - observational or interventional studies involving collection of new data.

Case report – describes an unusual and instructive case, or small group of cases (Case Series) demonstrating novel anaesthetic techniques or equipment, new information on diseases of importance to anaesthesia, or unusual toxicity or equipment failure.

Patient Safety (Roddie McNicol Patient Safety Award - Annual Congress only) – a project showcasing examples of improved safety in anaesthesia.

NELA Trainee Poster prize (WSM only) – A project that uses your hospital’s NELA data to bring about an improvement in care. A trainee must submit and be listed as the presenting author. 

What approval(s) and/or consent should I have for my abstract?

Prior to submission, you must ensure that appropriate ethical and/or regulatory approval has been obtained for the work submitted. Processes vary between Trusts, but presentation of any patient data would normally require approval by one or more of the following: Trust Caldicott Guardian; R&D Dept; Audit Dept; or Research Ethics Committee (or equivalent if non-NHS). At least one of these should be consulted beforehand. This must be declared in all abstracts, and must also be stated during all oral presentations and included in all posters.

Examples of approvals from each would be as follows:-

Audit department – All audit and quality improvement projects should be discussed with this department within the Trust. They may signpost that other approvals are needed if work is to be presented.

Trust Caldicott Guardian - A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of people's health and care information and making sure it is used properly. Any project that includes presentation of patient data should be discussed with them and the necessary approvals sought prospectively.

R&D department – Research and development departments should be involved in any piece of work relating to research and service development, including quality improvement projects.

Research Ethics Committee – RECs exist to safeguard the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of research participants. They review research proposals and give an opinion about whether research is ethical. All research proposals should be reviewed by them.

With regard to consent:-

Written consent must be sought from any patient(s) whose data are being used in a case report or series. If patient data are being used in other scenarios, such as in a patient survey, then at least verbal consent (but only with the appropriate approvals (see above)) must be obtained. Staff surveys are often exempt from requiring REC approval, but as a condition of acceptance participants in surveys should be asked for consent. Participants must be asked for agreement for publication of results/data from the survey. Participants  should be reassured that i) they are free to decline to participate without penalty and ii) all data collected and presented will be fully anonymised.

The approval(s) and/or consent that I have attained for my abstract do not fall into the options outlined. Where can I document these?

It is possible that the approval(s) that you have obtained differ from those outlined above; this may simply reflect different processes within your hospital. If you are unsure, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible. You should also enter any relevant information and explanations into the free text box on the declarations page of the abstract submission.

What headings should I use for my abstract?

Audit and quality improvement, NELA, original research, patient safety and survey abstracts should start with an untitled introductory paragraph and be followed by the sub-headings below (in bold)

(maximum of two)

What headings should I use for a case report abstract?

Use only the headings: Description / Discussion / Acknowledgements / References. The title of your abstract should not include the phrase "A Case Report".

I wish to submit a case report abstract but the patient has died. Can I present the case?
Presentation of case reports should follow the guidance for authors submitting to Anaesthesia; i.e.:

"Submission of a case report requires the written consent of the subject to publication. While the reviewers recognise that it might not always be possible to seek such consent (or the assent of the next-of-kin if the patient has died), the onus will be on the authors to demonstrate that this exception applies in their case."

Thus you must obtain signed written consent before submission, and this declaration should be included in the abstract and stated in any oral or poster presentation. Please contact [email protected] if you have any queries.

Do I need to provide evidence of obtaining consent? What consent do I need?

Submission of a case report requires the written consent of the subject to publication, using a specific patient consent form

Please do not submit this document together with your abstract, but note that you will be asked to declare that consent has been obtained when you submit, and you may be asked to provide the signed form as evidence at a later date.

Is it possible to submit more than one abstract?

There is no restriction on the number of abstracts submitted by the same author(s), but please be careful if you are the presenting author for more than one, as this may present a problem during the judging sessions. Judging sessions often occur concurrently for several categories. If submitting more than one abstract as a presenting author you may find that you need to be in several places at once. It is expected that all authors are present for the entirety of poster presentations within their group.

Does the poster/ePoster have to include the entire abstract?

Yes, the printed abstract is a summary of the poster that's presented, so the poster/ePoster should include the content of the abstract and ideally, expand on the content of the abstract to provide additional information that may not have fitted into the submitted abstract.

Data collection for my study is underway but will not be ready in time for the abstract deadline submission; however, the abstract will be prepared by the deadline. Is it possible to submit the results/data prospectively?

It is the submitted abstract that is judged and published for the meeting. Thus it is inappropriate for it to be submitted without essential results on the promise that these will be available later. It is likely that the abstract would be rejected and it would be better to await data collection and analysis and to submit to a later meeting, when the complete study can be presented.

Can I withdraw my abstract after submission?

Yes, abstracts can be withdrawn after the submission/closing date, but they cannot be altered after the closing date. They cannot be withdrawn from publication in Anaesthesia after the journal supplement been prepared for publication, four weeks before the conference.

Common errors in abstract submission

Do you have any guidance on common text and spelling errors in abstract submissions?

Guidance on abstracts can be found here

What are the most common problems that authors have with their submitted abstracts?

The most common problems arising are queries around whether appropriate or sufficient approvals and consent have been attained. Please make sure that you have contacted and gained approval from appropriate regulatory bodies in your hospital before starting any project and before submitting a piece of work for presentation at a conference. Please read the declarations page carefully and ensure that you choose the appropriate drop-down tab. If you have any queries then contact [email protected] at soon as possible and before the submission deadline. If appropriate approvals have not been sought, this could result in rejection of your abstract at the very least (and even referral to your REC and/or Trust in extreme cases).


What constitutes authorship?

All authors must meet the requirements of authorship as set out in the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors i.e. all have made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of data and its interpretation AND been involved in drafting the abstract or revising it – AND all authors must accept responsibility for the work presented. All proposed changes in authorship after submission must be fully explained.

Do the authors of the abstract and the poster have to be the same? i.e. if a colleague works on the poster can they be classified as an author?

The authors should be the same, although any individual who is not an author and contributes to the production of the poster can be acknowledged.

Do I need to include all authors in the ‘authors’ field when submitting my abstract?

Yes, please ensure you include all the authors who have contributed to the work in the appropriate field when submitting your abstract, as this is the author list that will appear in the published abstract – you will be unable to add authors later and your co-investigators will be left off the published version of the abstract.

How many co-authors can I include on the authors’ list?

There is a maximum of six authors allowed on each abstract. All authors should have made a significant contribution as per the definition of what constitutes authorship, above.

How should the authors be listed for a collaborative project?

Some projects involve large groups of collaborators, e.g. a trainee network, and it’s not practical to include every name under ‘author’; in such circumstances, please use the following format: ‘Author 1, Author 2, Author 3 on behalf of the XY Group – and under ‘Acknowledgement’ at the end, add the following: ‘A full list of contributors can be found at XYXY.co.uk’ – i.e. please provide a website address where all contributors/collaborators are listed.

Submitting and presenting the same work at other meetings

Can I submit an abstract that has been submitted to another non-Association meeting?

You cannot have an abstract published if it has been published (including online in any form) before.

If your abstract has been presented at or accepted by another (non-Association) meeting and it has been published or accepted for publication, you can present it at an Association meeting but it cannot be published as an online abstract. It is not necessary to state this in the abstract, but it must be stated during oral presentation/included on the poster and the secretariat ([email protected]) must be notified as early as possible.
If your abstract has been presented at or accepted by another (non-Association) and it has not been published or accepted for publication, you can present it at an Association meeting and it can be published as an online abstract. It is not necessary to state this in the abstract, but it must be stated during oral presentation/included on the poster.

Can I present my findings as a poster/ePoster or oral presentation at a meeting before submitting my case report to Anaesthesia Reports?

Yes, but you must declare that it has been presented (in part) at xxx meeting when submitting your case report to Anaesthesia Reports.

Can I present my case report after it has been published on Anaesthesia Reports?

No, once published anywhere, including Anaesthesia Reports, it cannot be presented as original work at a meeting.

Can I submit an abstract if the work has been published (or submitted to) a journal, such as Anaesthesia as a letter?

No, once published anywhere, even as a letter, it cannot be presented as original work at a meeting.

Selection process

What are the criteria against which abstracts are reviewed?

The scoring criteria are available here. You are strongly encouraged to look at the scoring guides when preparing your submission.

Who selects the abstracts and decides how they will be presented?

All submitted abstracts will go through a peer review process carried out by the shortlisting panel. All abstract review decisions are final. Because of the timeline, there is no appeals process or opportunity to resubmit once an abstract is rejected. The top scoring abstracts will be invited for oral presentation (Annual Congress and Trainee Conference only); the remaining successful authors may be invited to present a poster/ePoster.

What happens if I don’t have the correct approval(s) or consent that are needed?

You may be contacted by the Association to enquire about approvals and consent, if it’s unclear from your submission whether these were obtained appropriately. Alternatively, your abstract may be rejected.

Registration and attendance at the meeting

Is there an abstract submission fee?

No, there is no charge to submit an abstract; however the first author or a co-author of all accepted abstracts, whether as a poster or oral presentation, must register for the meeting at the appropriate rate. Submission of an abstract does not constitute registration for the meeting.

I am an author and my abstract was accepted as a poster/ePoster/oral presentation but I cannot get study leave. Can a colleague present on my behalf?

Yes, provided that colleague is an author.

I am an author and my abstract was accepted as a poster/ePoster presentation but I cannot get study leave. Can the Association put up my poster and can it still be included in the judging session?

Regrettably not; an author must register for the meeting in order for the poster/ePoster to be displayed, and be present at the allocated time (if required) to answer the judges’ questions.

Do I need to register for the whole two/three of the conference?

No, you are not required to register for the full two/three days of the conference, however, if physical posters are to be displayed we ask that you attend on the first day of the conference to mount your poster (unless using the Science posters service, see below). ePosters will be available from the first day of the conference, but must be uploaded ahead of the stated deadline. If your poster/ePoster is shortlisted for discussion, you are also required to be in attendance during the facilitated poster/ePoster discussion session to present your work and be eligible for prizes.

Will all posters/ePosters be presented during the meeting?

All posters/ePosters will be displayed throughout the meeting, either as a physical poster or ePoster but only shortlisted posters/ePosters will be discussed and presented during the formal facilitated poster/ePoster discussion sessions. 

I presented a poster/ePoster at an Association meeting. Can I have a certificate for my portfolio?

We will provide the submitting author with a letter confirming the presentation to share with the co-authors.

Poster specifics

What size should my poster be?

Physical posters

Posters should be A1 size (single sheet of paper/fabric 59.4cm x 84cm) and orientated in portrait view. Landscape posters and or posters not meeting the specified criteria will not be displayed.


An ePoster template will be provided once all accepted abstracts have been confirmed. ePosters will displayed in either portrait or landscape and submitted in ether PowerPoint or PDF format via the online abstract submission system. You will recieve submission details and a ePoster template after the acceptance deadline has passed.

If I have my physical poster printed by Scienceposters, will it be put up for me?

Yes, Association staff will display the poster for you but you must still attend the meeting to present your poster (if shortlisted) in the allocated session.

What happens if I don’t include a statement about ethical or other approval, and/or patient consent, in my actual poster?

The Association is committed to uphold the highest ethical standards and all posters must contain such a statement. Posters not including such a statement may be removed from the conference and retracted from the Anaesthesia supplement.

I am unable to attend the final day of the meeting so will be unable to collect my physical poster. Can the Association send my poster back to me?

Yes, all leftover physical posters will be dispatched after the meeting, but only if you tell us beforehand (n.b. there may be a charge for this).

Oral presentations

My abstract has been accepted for oral presentation, can it move session?

No, the session stated in our email correspondence is final and cannot be changed.

Is it okay to have two presenters for an oral presentation?

No; this is unfortunately not possible.