The Clinicopathological Conference, known throughout the medical world as the CPC, is nearing its 100th birthday. Originating in Boston in 1900, CPCs began as informal discussions in the private office of Dr Richard C. Cabot, a prominent Harvard internist. Cabot had gotten the idea for this case method of teaching medicine from Walter B. Cannon, a medical student at Harvard. Cannon, in turn, had gotten the idea from his roommate, a law student.
Ultimately, the CPCs moved to the Massachusetts General Hospital, where they were called Cabot Clinicopathological Conferences. In 1924, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal started publishing these conferences. Four years later, that journal became The New England Journal of Medicine, wherein CPCs have been a feature ever since.
With the advent of modern technology, the CPC has lost some of the popularity and emphasis it once commanded. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that well-chosen CPCs remain a powerful and dynamic teaching tool—a tool that not only offers clinicopathological correlation but also builds clinicopathological competence.
Good doctors never stop learning. And for them, a carefully prepared CPC provides tasty and timely intellectual nourishment. Our goal, therefore, is to include such fare in one issue of Circulation each month.
Henceforth, we will consider for publication any CPC that deals in part or primarily with cardiovascular medicine. Each submission will undergo peer review, and we will forward the results to the corresponding author within 2 weeks after receiving the manuscript. Guidelines for preparing the CPC will appear in the “Instructions to Authors” section of the January 1 and July 1 issues.
Many years ago, Dr Martin Fischer said:
When you no longer know what headache, heartache, or stomach-ache means without cistern punctures, electrocardiograms, and six x-ray plates, you are slipping.
We agree. And we think that one way to keep from slipping is to keep up the CPC.
- Copyright © 1995 by American Heart Association