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Manuscript preparation instructions

Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery (ICVTS) welcomes scientific contributions in the field of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery - all aspects of surgery of the heart, vessels and the chest, including new ideas, brief communications, work in progress, follow-up studies, original articles, best evidence topics, case reports, and last but not least, reports on negative experiences. Incorporated images and videos are welcome. All manuscripts are subject to review by the Editor, Associate Editors, invited referees and a statistician when appropriate. If accepted, articles will be posted online and opened-up for discussion. Acceptance is based upon the originality, significance, and validity of the material presented.

The page outlines instructions for submitting your manuscript to ICVTS. For information on journal policies, please visit our policies page.

How to contact the Editorial Office

Statistical and data reporting guidelines
Clinical Trials
Manuscript types
Best Evidence Topics (BET)
Best of CTSNet Video
Challenge of the Month
Manuscript format and style
Figures and videos
Permission to reproduce figures and extracts
Supplementary data
Copyright and licence
Advance Access


The Editorial Office can be contacted as follows:

Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery, Editorial Office, University Hospital Freiburg - Medical Center, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Hugstetter Str. 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany. Tel: +49-761-27090860; Fax: +49-761-27090870; e-mail:


Please read these instructions carefully and follow them closely to ensure that the review and publication of your paper is as efficient and quick as possible.

All material to be considered for publication in Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery should be submitted in electronic form via the journal's online submission system.

Submission letter. All new manuscripts should be accompanied by a submission letter that includes the following statements: (a) there has been no duplicate publication or submission elsewhere (see:; (b) all authors have read and approved the manuscript; (c) subject to acceptance, authors will transfer copyright to the Publisher; and (d) there is no ethical problem or conflict of interest (see below). The submission letter should also indicate the type of paper and the appropriate subject category.

Revised manuscripts. When submitting revised manuscripts please ensure that the files are labelled accordingly (2nd version, 3rd version etc). Please provide responses to to all points raised in the Editor’s and Referees’ comments in the area of the system ‘Response to the reviews’, outlining the changes that have been made. Changes should be highlighted in the revised manuscript to facilitate editorial reassessment.

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Registering Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials Registration Statement In accordance with this statement all clinical trials published in the journal must be registered in a public trials registry at or before the onset of participant enrolment. For any clinical trials commencing prior to 2008, retrospective registration will be accepted.

ICMJE. A list of recommended registries can be found on the ICMJE website. Results posted in the same clinical trials registry in which the primary registration resides will not be considered prior publication if they are presented in the form of a brief abstract (<500 words or less) or a table.

Authors are requested to provide the exact URL and unique identification number for the trial registration at the time of submission. This information will be published in the article and we ask that you include the URL and identification number on the title page of your manuscript.

Reporting Clinical Trials

Clinical trials should comply with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials Statement (CONSORT), which is available here. Authors reporting on randomized clinical trials (RCT) should consult the CONSORT checklist when preparing their manuscripts. All RCT data will be evaluated in accordance with the rules and checklist of the CONSORT statement.

Other types of studies should follow guidelines where available. These include STARD (Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies), STROBE (Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology), PRISMA (Transparent Reporting of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and MOOSE (Meta-analyses of observational studies). For further information on good reporting of health research studies please go to the EQUATOR network.

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The journal publishes the following types of papers:

  • Best Evidence Topics
  • Best of CTSNet (by invitation from CTSNet)
  • Brief Communications
  • Case Reports
  • Challenge of the Month
  • Historical Pages
  • Original Articles
  • Unexpected Results
  • New Ideas
  • Proposal for Bail-out Procedure
  • State-of-the-Art
  • Work in Progress Report

Please see the section below for details on the format for each of these article types.


Best Evidence Topics (BET) is a concept that is intended to provide rapid evidence based answers to relevant clinical questions. In order to maximize the quality of the BET without increasing the preparation time, each BET should be written in a rigid structure. See the ICVTS template here BET_Template. Prior to preparing a BET submission, authors are advised to check-out the existing BET on the ICVTS website, and register their new proposal with the BET Editor: e-mail: The BET Editor will verify that the topic is both suitable and not in preparation by another group.

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Submissions to this section will be by invitation by the CTSNet Editors for videos posted by CTSNet which are of the highest quality. For further information go to

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Challenge of the Month is an exciting new article type, which presents a clinical problem for which a team is currently searching for the best treatment strategy. The objective of the Challenge of the Month is to give our readers the opportunity to comment, discuss and provide their preferred solution.
The text for a Challenge of the Month should be structured into 3 sections:

1. Clinical problem
2. Case description
3. Treatment solution

Initially only Sections 1 and 2 will be published on Advance Access and remain available for 6 weeks for readers to submit their treatment description.
Section 3 will be published in the paginated issue together with Sections 1 and 2 and the readers’ treatment descriptions.


Please prepare your typescript text using a word-processing package (save in .doc, .docx or .rtf format). The manuscript should be double-spaced and should include line numbers and page numbers. Where appropriate (see table), manuscripts should be organized as follows: (a) Title page; (b) Abstract and Key words; (c) Text with the following sections: Introduction, Materials and methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements; (d) Tables; (e) Figure legends; (f) Video legends; and (g) References.

This journal follows our standard Oxford SciMed style. By following the mini style checklist here you can ensure that your manuscript follows the major style points.

Authors should upload a single file containing the complete manuscript (i.e. title page, abstract, keywords, text, figure legends, references, figures and tables), as this makes the reviewing process easier for Editors and referees. This applies to the original version of the manuscript and any revised versions. Due to figure file size constraints, you may have to submit separate files for figures. The location of Tables and Figures should be indicated in the text.

Supplementary material (see chapter further below) can be submitted as separate documents and uploaded as Supplemental file(s).

Please use short, simple filenames when saving all your documents, and avoid special characters, punctuation marks, symbols (such as &), and spaces. If you are a Macintosh user, you must also type the extension at the end of the file name you choose (.doc, .rtf, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .xls, .pdf, .eps, .ppt, .mov or .qt).

Other helpful hints are: (i) use the TAB key once for paragraph indents; (ii) where possible use Arial for the text font and Symbol for any Greek and special characters; (iii) use the word processing formatting features to indicate Bold, Italic, Greek, Maths, Superscript and Subscript characters; (iv) please avoid using underline: for cases use italic; for emphasis use bold; (v) clearly identify unusual symbols and Greek letters; (vi) differentiate between the letter O and zero, and the letters I and l and the number 1.

The paper should be submitted in one of the following article types: Best Evidence Topic (BET); Best of CTSNet (CTSNet); Brief Communication (BC); Case Report (CR); Challenge of the Month (CM); Historical Pages (HP); Original Article (OA); Unexpected Results (UR); New Ideas (NI); Proposal for Bail-out Procedure (PBP); State-of-the-Art (SOTA); Work in Progress Report (WPR). The specification for each submission category should contain but not exceed the following:

Table of specifications

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any submitted papers that do not conform to the above specifications will not be considered for review.

* Figures including composite parts A,B,C, etc. will only be allowed if ALL of the constituting parts are mounted into 1 image / 1 electronic file.

** A maximum of 6 figure parts will be allowed (to be distributed as authors see fit).

*** Including the solution of the clinical team.

Subject categories. The most appropriate subject category should be selected and indicated for your paper from the following: Arrhythmia, Assisted circulation, Cardiac general, Cardiopulmonary bypass, Congenital, Coronary, Esophagus, Experimental, Extracorporeal techniques, Pulmonary, Thoracic oncologic, Thoracic non-oncologic, Transplantation, Valves, Vascular thoracic.

The text should be organised as follows:

Title page. The title page should include a brief and descriptive title of the article (no abbreviations allowed), the first name and surname(s) of the author(s) (but no qualifications), and the name and location of the establishment where the research was carried out (in English). The name, address, telephone and fax numbers and the e-mail address of the corresponding author should be typed at the bottom of the title page. If the manuscript was presented at a meeting, the meeting name, venue, and the date on which it was read should be indicated; also indicate if you have submitted an Abstract of this manuscript for the EACTS and ESTS annual meeting and whether it has been accepted (if known). An exact word count of the abstract and of the text, excluding figures, tables and references, should be given. All sources of funding for the work should be acknowledged under the header 'Funding' at the end of the text.

For accurate indexing online it is important that authors ensure the following: (i) all names have the correct spelling and are in the correct order (first name [given name], then surname [family name]); (ii) initials are correct, both on the title page and in the metadata of the system.

Abstract and keywords. The second page of the manuscript should contain the Abstract, which should be comprehensible to readers before they have read the paper. Reference citations must be avoided. The abstract should be factual and free of abbreviations except for SI units of measurement. If a structured abstract is required, it must have four sections: (1) Objectives: should describe the problem addressed in the study and its purpose. (2) Methods: should explain how the study was performed (basic procedures with study materials and observational and analytical methods). (3) Results: should describe the main findings with specific data and their statistical significance, if possible. (4) Conclusions: should contain the main conclusion of the study.

Following the abstract, 3-6 key words should be given for subject indexing.

For Clinical Trials please see below.

Introduction: should state the purpose of the investigation and give a short review of pertinent literature.

Materials and methods: should be described in detail with appropriate information about patients or experimental animals. Use of abbreviations renders the text difficult to read; abbreviations should be limited to SI units of measurement and to those most commonly used, e.g. VSD, ASD, CABG (abbreviations should not be included in headings and extensions should be included at first mention). Generic names of drugs and equipment should be used throughout the manuscript, with brand names (proprietary name) and the name and location (city, state, country) of the manufacturer in brackets when first mentioned in the text.

Results: should be reported concisely and regarded as an important part of the manuscript. They should be presented either in tables and figures, and briefly commented on in the text, or in the text alone. Repetition of results should be avoided! Results: should be reported concisely and regarded as an important part of the manuscript. They should be presented either in tables and figures, and briefly commented on in the text, or in the text alone. Repetition of results should be avoided! For statistical analysis, follow the ‘Statistical and data reporting guidelines’ (Eur J Cardiothorac 2015).

Discussion: is an interpretation of the results and their significance with reference to pertinent work by other authors. It should be clear and concise. The importance of the study and its limitations should be discussed.

Acknowledgements: acknowledgements and details of non-financial support must be included at the end of the text before references and not in footnotes. Personal acknowledgements should precede those of institutions or agencies.

Conflicts of Interest

Declarations of conflicts of interest must be included in the manuscript - please place them at the end of the text before references, and include the section even if none are declared, using the following format:

Conflict of interest: none declared.

Further guidance on Conflicts of interest is available on the Journal Policies page.


Authors are responsible for checking the accuracy of all references. If you use EndNote or Reference Manager to facilitate referencing citations (not required for submission), this journal's style is available for use.

References should be numbered in order of appearance in the text (in Arabic numerals in parentheses) and must be listed numerically in the reference list. Journal titles and author initials should be properly abbreviated and punctuated. If an automatic referencing system has been used in the preparation of the paper, the references must not be left embedded in the final text file submitted. The citation of journals, books, multi-author books and articles published online should conform to the following examples:

[1] Dutau H, Breen DP, Gomez C, Thomas PA, Vergnon JM. The integrated place of tracheobronchial stents in the multidisciplinary management of large post-pneumonectomy fistulas: our experience using a novel customised conical self-expandable metallic stent. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2011;39:185-189.

[2] Cooley DA. Techniques in cardiac surgery. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1984:167-76.

Multi-author books

[3] Huang GJ, Wu YK. Operative technique for carcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia. In: Huang GJ, Wu YK (eds). Carcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia. Berlin: Springer, 1984:313-48.

Online-only publications (please give the doi wherever possible)[4] Barbone A, Malvindi PG, Ferrara P, Tarelli G. Left ventricle unloading by percutaneous pigtail during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Interact CardioVasc Thorac Surg, doi:10.1510/icvts.2011.269795.
[5] Thurber JS, Deb SJ, Collazo LR. Ascending-to-descending aortic bypass for coarctation of the aorta. CTSNet [published 12 May 2008, accessed 30 November 2011]. Available from:

For references with more than six authors, the first 6 authors should be listed, followed by et al. Personal communications (Jones, personal communication) must be authorized in writing by those involved, and unpublished data should be cited in the text as (unpublished data). References to manuscripts submitted, but not yet accepted, should be cited in the text as (Jones and Smith, manuscript in preparation) and should not be included in the list of references.


All tables should be on separate pages and accompanied by a title, and footnotes where necessary. The tables should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals. Units in which results are expressed should be given in parentheses at the top of each column and not repeated in each line of the table. Ditto signs are not used. Avoid overcrowding the tables and the excessive use of words. The format of tables should be in keeping with that normally used by the journal; in particular, vertical lines, coloured text and shading should not be used. Please be certain that the data given in tables are correct.

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Please be aware that the requirements for online submission and for reproduction in the journal are different:

(i) for online submission and peer review, please upload your figures either embedded in the word processing file or separately as low-resolution images (.jpg, .tif, .gif or. eps);

(ii) for reproduction in the journal, you will be required after acceptance to supply high-resolution .tif files. Minimum resolutions are 300 idots per inch for colour or tone images, and 1000 idots per inch for line drawings, supplied at a minimum width of 16.8 cm. We advise that you create your high-resolution images first as these can be easily converted into low-resolution images for online submission.

ICVTS does not redraw figures in accepted manuscripts. Therefore, figure preparation is the author's responsibility. Please follow our guidelines.

Colour Illustrations

ICVTS encourages the use of colour figures when colour helps with the understanding of the figures. ICVTS does not charge for the publication of colour figures but please note the Editor may use his discretion when deciding which figures to publish in colour.

For non-essential colour, ICVTS also offers free reproduction of colour figures only in the online version (figures in the print version will appear in black and white). If this option is chosen, figure captions must be suitably worded to apply to both the print and online versions of the article.


Authors may now include videos with their submissions which will be published in the online article (ie: no longer as supplementary data). Please see below for further details. Authors must also submit a still image that can be used in the print article. Videos should be numbered in the order they appear in the text. All figures and videos require a legend. The total playback time for the two videos should not exceed 5 minutes.

Recording. Use the highest possible resolution when creating the original. The use of a standard thoracoscopic camera (digital preferred) fixed on the table and manipulated by an assistant gives excellent magnification and high quality recording. Filming with a head-mounted recording camera is not recommended.

Audio. To improve the understanding of the procedure described, short and clear commentaries can be incorporated into the video file. Commentaries should supplement the complete description given in the legend of the video.

Format. Videos can be submitted in any standard format: wmv, avi, mpeg, mov, etc. Videos must be of high quality and must have a minimum size of 640x480 (preferably higher as we will convert all videos to MP4 to ICVTS specifications). The aspect ratio can be: 4:3 or 16:9.

For full video preparation guidelines, go to video-and-media-guidelines

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Permission to reproduce copyright material, for print and online publication in perpetuity, must be cleared and if necessary paid for by the author; this includes applications and payments to DACS, ARS and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. Evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder must be made available to the editors. It is also the author's responsibility to include acknowledgements as stipulated by the particular institutions. Please note that obtaining copyright permission could take some time. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing print and online permissions: please see the Guidelines for Authors section at Should you require copies of this then please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department on

For a copyright prose work, it is recommended that permission is obtained for the use of extracts longer than 400 words; a series of extracts totalling more than 800 words, of which any one extract is more than 300 words; or an extract or series of extracts comprising one-quarter of the work or more.

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Supporting material that is not essential for inclusion in the full text of the manuscript, but would nevertheless benefit the reader, can be made available by the publisher as online-only content, linked to the online manuscript. The material should not be essential to understanding the conclusions of the paper, but should contain data that is additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content. Such information might include more detailed methods, extended data sets/data analysis, or additional figures.

It is standard practice for appendices to be made available online-only as supplementary data. All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats. All material to be considered as supplementary data must be submitted at the same time as the main manuscript for peer review. It cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication, and will not be edited. Please indicate clearly all material intended as supplementary data upon submission and name the files e.g. 'Supplementary Figure 1', 'Supplementary Data', etc. Also ensure that the supplementary data is referred to in the main manuscript where necessary, for example as '(see Supplementary data)' or '(see Supplementary Figure 1)'. Supplementary material should be uploaded as ‘Supplemental files’ only.

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It is a condition of publication for all Oxford Journals that authors either assign copyright or grant an exclusive licence to Oxford University Press or the sponsoring Society. This ensures that all of the necessary rights needed for publication of the article, including provision for any requests from third parties to reproduce content from the journals, are in place and are handled efficiently and consistently by OUP, enabling the content to be as widely disseminated as possible. No article will be published unless a licence has been signed. Any queries about the licence should be sent as soon as possible to Rights and Permissions so that any issues can be resolved quickly and to avoid any delay in publication.

As part of the terms of the licence agreement, Authors may use their own material in other publications written or edited by themselves provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication and Oxford University Press as the Publisher. As the Author(s), copyright of the Article remains yours (or your employer’s if your employer claims copyright in your work). See here for full details of Oxford Journals' copyright policy and the rights retained by you/your institution under the terms of the licence.

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear after the 'Acknowledgements' section.
The following rules should be followed:

Details of how to sign the licence using our online system will be sent after acceptance.
Work submitted for publication must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. If previously published figures, tables, or parts of text are to be included, the copyright-holder’s permission must have been obtained prior to submission. For more information on how to obtain permissions, please consult Rights and Permissions.

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health’ or simply 'National Institutes of Health' not ‘NCI' (one of the 27 subinstitutions) or 'NCI at NIH’ full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies
  • Grant numbers should be complete and accurate and provided in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number ABX CDXXXXXX]’
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers ABX CDXXXXXX, EFX GHXXXXXX]’
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

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An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [P50 CA098252 and CA118790 to R.B.S.R.] and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [HFY GR667789].


Authors are sent page proofs by email. These should be checked immediately and corrections, as well as answers to any queries, returned to the publishers as an annotated PDF via email or fax within 3 working days (further details are supplied with the proof). It is the author's responsibility to check proofs thoroughly.

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Authors will receive electronic access to their paper free of charge. Printed offprints may be purchased in multiples of 50. Rates are indicated on the order form which must be returned with the proofs.

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Advance Access articles are published online soon after they have been accepted for publication, in advance of their appearance in a printed journal. Appearance in Advance Access constitutes official publication, and the Advance Access version can be cited by a unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier). When an article appears in an issue, it is removed from the Advance Access page.

Articles posted for Advance Access have been copyedited and typeset and any corrections included. This is before they are paginated for inclusion in a specific issue of the journal. Once an article appears in an issue, both versions of the paper continue to be accessible and citable.

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Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery has an Interactive Section based around the concept of a virtual conference. As such, individuals can submit electronic, moderated comments (eComments) to the journal in response to published papers. This feature will be open for approximately 21 days after a paper has been published and can be accessed via the advanced access page. After closure of the discussion period, the published papers and any contributions from the moderated discussion, will be published in the ICVTS archival and paper versions.

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