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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  • The submission file is in Microsoft Word document format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • All tables will be uploaded as separate Microsoft Word or RTF files. All figures are in JPEG or TIFF file format and will be uploaded as separate, supplementary files.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines shown below.
  • If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.
  • Editorial Fees are due after your paper has been accepted. The journal will not issue refunds of any kind after the acceptance of the manuscript.

Author Guidelines

Submit a Manuscript to the Heart Surgery Forum

The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) is seeking original investigative and clinical work on any subject germane to cardiac surgical science or practice. The HSF publishes original scientific reports, collective reviews, case reports, editorials, and letters to the editor, as well as Learning Center presentations for the non-medical public. New manuscripts are reviewed by the Editorial Board for originality, content, relevancy, and adherence to scientific principles. Authors are encouraged to submit full-color images and videos that will be included in the web version of the journal at no charge.

If you are interested in contributing, please review the sections at our online submission and review portal that describe the procedures for composition, citations, references and submission. Potential authors are requested to carefully review the entire Disclaimers and Conditions section of the journal.

Types of Publications

The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) requires authors to submit original manuscripts, i.e., those not under consideration or published elsewhere. Manuscript types include, but are not limited to:

  • Original Research: Original articles generally follow a format that consists of the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion sections (IMRAD). HSF encourages authors to follow the guidelines for research articles. To reduce bias and increase transparency, The HSF strongly recommends that authors pre-register all clinical trials and systematic reviews. See more reporting guidelines.
  • Review: Reviews often provide a comprehensive overview of a specific hot topic. Reviews can range from a rigorous, in-depth, systematic assessment of the literature to a less formal review based on a combination of selected evidence and expert opinion, similar to chapters in some textbooks. Reviews are often widely read (e.g., by researchers looking for a comprehensive introduction to a field) and highly cited. The HSF will use SANRA to evaluate narrative reviews during the editorial process and peer review. These manuscripts typically cite around 60 primary research articles. The maximum length of a review article is 8,000 words (not including abstracts and tables).
  • Systematic Review: Systematic review is a type of literature review that uses systematic methods to collect primary data, critically appraise research studies, and synthesize findings qualitatively or quantitatively. HSF encourages authors to follow PRISMA guidelines and indicate in the systematic review that they have done so. These manuscripts generally include a structured abstract of up to 100 words, 35 references and a total word count not exceeding 2,500 words (excluding the abstract and tables).
  • Case Reports: Case Report is typically a detailed and focused account of a specific clinical case or a small subset of cases. These articles are usually written to share unique, interesting, or rare clinical experiences that contribute to the medical literature. The main purpose is to provide valuable insights, raise awareness, and contribute to the collective knowledge of the medical community. HSF encourages authors to follow CARE (CAse REport) guidelines and indicate in the manuscript that they have done so. These manuscripts generally include a non-structured abstract of up to 150 words, 15 references, and 6 illustrations. The total word count should not exceed 2,000 words (excluding the abstract and tables).
  • Surgical Technique: Surgical Technique articles typically focus on providing a detailed and comprehensive description of a specific surgical procedure or method. They primarily discuss indications and contraindications, surgical anatomy, procedural techniques, postoperative management, key points and pitfalls, as well as complications. The main purpose is to share valuable insights, improvements, or modifications to existing surgical procedures, aiming to enhance patient treatment outcomes, reduce complications, or simplify the surgical process. These articles generally include a non-structured abstract of up to 150 words, 6 illustrations, and a maximum of 10 references. The total word count should not exceed 2,500 words (excluding the abstract and tables). Videos and/or high-resolution photos are strongly encouraged.
  • Editorial: Editorials represent important opinion articles. Editorials may comment on one or more articles in the same HSF issue or on an area of current interest. These types of manuscripts may have a maximum of three authors, and they should be brief and focused, not exceeding 1,500 words, 30 references, and one table or figure. The body of the Editorial can be continuous text or divided into subsections. There is no abstract. The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) welcomes Editorials on topics of current interest.

Rapid Submission Process

The Heart Surgery Forum® (HSF, Print ISSN: 1098-3511, Electronic ISSN: 1522-6662) requires that all new submissions be uploaded to our online submission and review portal as Microsoft Word documents.

To facilitate easy submission, several common steps should be avoided when submitting to the HSF:

  1. Do not double space.
  2. Do not separate sections onto individual pages. Only place a blank line or two between sections.
  3. Do not indent paragraphs; just separate them by a blank line.
  4. DO NOT CAPITALIZE in an attempt to create emphasis.
  5. Avoid fancy fonts, sizes, special kerning or leading in the text.
  6. Avoid superscripts or subscripts, and include any such information within square brackets.
  7. Do not attempt to make your document “photo-ready” or create any special formatting, pagination or page layout. All this will be reformatted for the Web and your special layouts will be discarded.

All manuscripts should be divided into the following key sections, separated only by a blank line. For case reports, a dedicated section titled 'Case Report' may be used instead of the Materials/Methods and Results sections mentioned above. The format for Editorials and Collective Reviews remains open-ended and unstructured.

  1. Title: Titles should be concise, specific, and informative. To read more about titles, please see the AMA Manual of Style.

  2. Authors’ information: At the time of submission, complete contact information (affiliation complete address information including city, zip code, state/province, and country) for the corresponding author is required. First and last names, email addresses, and institutional affiliations of all coauthors are also required. The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) encourages the listing of authors’ Open Researcher and Contributor Identifiers (ORCID). All authors are fully responsible for the originality, validity, and integrity of the content of their submissions. Using AI-based tools and technologies for content generation, such as large language models (LLMs), generative AI, and chatbots (e.g., ChatGPT), does not comply with our authorship criteria. Authors who use such technology should describe how it was used in both the cover letter and the appropriate section of the submitted work, if applicable. If AI was used for writing assistance, this should be described in the acknowledgment section. For more details, please refer to our Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy.

  3. Abstract (with Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions sections): The Abstract should not exceed 350 words. Abbreviations that appear once only should be defined in full, unless they correspond to a gene name. If abbreviations appear more than once, the definition should be provided once, and then the abbreviation should be subsequently used throughout the abstract. Please do not cite references, figures, tables, or websites, and equations or other graphical elements must not be included.

  4. KeywordsIn this section, authors need to submit a short list (3-10) of keywords with their manuscript, avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, ‘and’, ‘of’).

  5. Introduction: State the objectives of the work and provide an adequate background to clarify why the study was undertaken and what hypotheses were tested, avoiding a detailed literature survey or a summary of the results. The information in this section should always be referenced and must discuss the literature. In addition, if the authors have recently published closely related work, especially when using the same datasets, this must be discussed and the relationship between the previous work and the current submission must be explained.

  6. Materials and Methods: The materials used and procedures conducted should be described insufficient detail to allow others to replicate and build on the new methods and protocols should be described in detail while well-established methods can be deposited on and appropriately cited. Methods that have been published in detail elsewhere should not be described in detail and avoid unnecessarily detailed descriptions of widely used techniques. The International System of Units (SI) should be used throughout the text. Reports of experiments involving human participants must describe the ethical approval and steps taken to obtain consent and to maintain confidentiality. Experiments involving animals must conform to accepted ethical standards.
    Statistical analyses should provide the name of the statistical test used, the sample size for each analysis, the comparisons of interest, the alpha level and the exact p-value for each test. It should be clear which statistical test was used to generate every p-value. It should be clearly stated which statistical test was used to generate each P-value and the 95% confidence interval and effect size. Error bars on graphs should be clearly labeled, and it should be stated whether the number following the ± sign is a standard deviation or a standard error. The terms such as "marginally significant" or "nearing significant" should also not be used. The term "significant" should only be used when referring to a statistically significant result and should be accompanied by the associated P-value. Significance indicators should be used on graphs and tables, and should be described in the figure or table legend, clearly indicating which groups are being compared. Describe any statistical software used to perform analyses.

  7. Results: This section should provide specific answers to the aims or questions outlined in the introduction. The presentation of results should mirror the order of the methods section. Include a concise summary of the data presented in all display items, such as figures and tables. Analyze numerical data using appropriate statistical tests, as described in the Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis section. Authors must furnish detailed information for each applied statistical test. If references are necessary to support the results, they can be inserted in the Discussion section. Additionally, to present data comprehensively for critical evaluation of continuous data, HSF encourages authors to use univariate scatter plots, box plots, and histograms instead of bar charts. 

  8. Discussion: This section should explore the significance of the results of the work, not repeat them. A combined Results and Discussion section is often appropriate. Avoid extensive citations and an overly repetitive discussion of published literature; focus on any discrepancies between the results and previously published findings.

  9. Conclusions: The main conclusion(s) of the study should be presented in this section for all submissions.

  10. Availability of Data and Materials: HSF strongly encourages authors to provide, in this section, all the data upon which the manuscript conclusions are based (for all original research articles), unless these data have been fully provided to readers as part of the submitted article. For instance, please provide detailed information about where to access the data supporting the reported results, including links to publicly archived datasets analyzed or generated during the research. If the study does not include any data, you may choose to exclude this statement. To see examples of data availability statements.

  11. Author ContributionsIn this section, the contributions of each author should be accurately listed, based on the following four criteria. To see more about the author contributions.

  12. Ethics approval and consent to participate: In this section, please add the Institutional Review Board Statement, date of approval,and approval number for studies involving humans or animals. Please note that the Editorial Office might ask you for further information.

  13. Acknowledgment: In this section you can acknowledge any support given which is not covered by the author contribution or funding sections. This may include administrative and technical support, or donations in kind (e.g., materials used for experiments).

  14. Funding: List all funding sources. As this section contains important information and many funding bodies require inclusion of grant numbers here; please check carefully that manuscript details are accurate and use standard spelling of funding agency names at, as errors may affect your future funding. To see more about the Funding policies.

  15. Conflict of interest: This section is required for all papers. If there are no interests (COIs) to declare, please use the following wording: “The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest” or “The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest”. The text in this section should match the text provided in the Declaration of Interests form in the publishing agreement. The ICMJE has developed a uniform Disclosure Form for use by ICMJE member journals (, and The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) has adopted it. This should be completed in addition to the COI statement above. To see more about the competing interests policies.

  16. Supplementary materials: Authors of manuscripts may provide related supplemental data to be posted online along with the published manuscript. This may include figures, tables, or appendices but excludes large datasets, which should be deposited in a suitable subject-specific or general public repository. Results that are central to supporting the conclusions should be in the main body of the article, not in the supplementary materials. The supplementary files will also be available to the referees as part of the peer-review process. Any file format is acceptable; however, we recommend that common, non-proprietary formats are used where possible.

  17. References:
  • Reference list is sorted numerically. The reference list should be limited to only those citations essential to the presentation.
  • Please verify the accuracy of all references and check that all references have been cited in the text.
  • Please list all authors’ names if the authors number less than 6. For the authors of more than 6, please list the first six authors’ names, then use "et al.".
  • Please list the standard journal title, do not abbreviate the page number.
  • Use the [number] for the references in the text.

Sample reference citation (Download EndNote style).

(1) Journal:

① Less than 6 authors

[1] Costantino M. The rhinogenic deafness and SPA therapy: clinical-experimental study. La Clinica Terapeutica. 2008; 159: 311–315.

② More than 6 authors

[1] Bonfils P, François M, Aidan D, Avan P, Parat S, Boissinot C, et al. Deafness in the neonatal period: basis for screening. Archives De Pediatrie. 1995; 2: 685–691.

(2) Book:

[1] American College of Sports Medicine. Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 10th edn. Wolter Klower: Philadelphia, USA. 2018.

[2] Lang TA, Secic M. How to report statistics in medicine. American College of Physicians: Philadelphia. 1997.

(3) Patent:

[1] Myers K, Nguyen C, inventors; 3F Therapeutics, Inc., assignee. Prosthetic heart valve. USA: United States patent US 6,911,043. 28 Jun 2005.

(4) If there are non-English journals in the reference, please insert the journal language as the ending:

[1] Tan Y, Miao TG, Feng, DY. Evaluation of clinical efficacy of three Chinese patent medicines in convalescent stage of cerebral apoplexy. Journal of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2012; 014: 34–35. (In Chinese)

(5) Website:

[1] Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS. Phase II Study on Carboplatin- Paclitaxel-Pembrolizumab in Neoadjuvant Treatment of Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer. Clinical trial registration, study/NCT04238988,, 24 August 2021. Available at: (Accessed: 7 September 2022).

In-text citations

When citing articles from other authors, a citation in the manuscript text should be notated with a number corresponding to its number in the reference list. For example:

Diabetes mellitus is associated with a high risk of foot ulcers [1-3].

Figures, Photographs, and Artwork

Figures, photographs, and any artwork must be submitted with the manuscript as separate “supplemental files” via our online submission and review portal. When preparing images for submissions, it is important that the authors save the images at 300 dots per inch (dpi) or greater. If less than 300 dpi, images can only be used in the web component of the HSF journal. These files can be saved as .tiff or .jpg file formats.

Since the HSF publishes images in color (on the web), authors are encouraged to take color photographs of their surgical cases or techniques. The patient’s name must not appear on any submitted photo, x-ray, or angiogram.


Tables should be submitted electronically via our online submission and review portal as separate supplemental files in either .rtf or .doc file formats.

Appeals and Complaints

Where an author believes that an editor has made an error in declining a paper, he or she may submit an appeal to the editorial office

Allegations of Research Misconduct

The Heart Surgery Forum (HSF) adheres to the recommendations of COPE and WAME and follows their guidelines on misconduct. The process for handling misconduct in HSF is as follows:

If an article published in the journal is suspected of containing research misconduct, you can contact the editorial office to share your concerns. The complainant must clearly specify the nature and details of the misconduct; for example, in cases of plagiarism, the plagiarized sections should be clearly identified, and reference should be made to the original and suspicious articles. During this period, the editorial office will contact the Editor-In-Chief and the journal editors for assessment. If the situation is confirmed to be true, the corresponding author of the suspicious article will be contacted for investigation (and relevant institutions may be contacted if necessary). The corresponding author will be asked to provide an explanation with factual statements and any available evidence. If no response is received within the specified time or if the explanation is unsatisfactory, the article may be permanently retracted or rejected. Before making a decision, it may be necessary to seek confirmation from experts from relevant institutions or other regulatory authorities. Your identity will not be disclosed by the journal throughout the investigation process. Once the investigation is completed, you will be informed of the outcome. The complaint case will then be considered closed.

Erratum, Editorial Expressions of Concern, Corrections and Retractions

To ensure the integrity of all published or potentially published academic records, whenever it is recognized that a materially inaccurate, misleading statement, or distorted report has been published, it must be corrected in a timely manner and given due weight. Corrections to published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusions of the article, but do not completely invalidate the article, will be made through early publication of corrections or editorial expressions of concern at the discretion of the editor.

Retraction of a published article may be necessary if the scientific information in the article has been seriously compromised by either error or misconduct. Retraction notices will be indexed and linked back to the original article. More details about Erratum, Editorial Expressions of Concern, Corrections and Retractions.

Open Access and Licensing

In open-access publishing, HSF utilizes an exclusive licensing agreement. All content published in HSF is provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC 4.0). This means that anyone can freely read, download, copy, and distribute all articles published in an open-access manner, as long as they adhere to the terms of the license. Users are free to share (copy, distribute, and transmit) and remix (adapt) contributions, including for commercial purposes, provided they attribute the contributions in the manner specified by the author or licensor:

  1. Doing so non-commercially and if any alterations or edits are made to the article in any way, further distribution of the article is not permitted.
  2. Users give appropriate credit (by providing a formal publication link through the relevant DOI) and provide a link to the license but do not imply endorsement by the licensor of the user or the use of the work.
  3. Distribution of any derivatives, including remixing, transforming, or building upon the material, is not permitted.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal. They will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.