As the number of patients with autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is increasing in Japan, practical guidelines for managing AIP need to be established. Three committees [the professional committee for developing clinical questions (CQs) and statements by Japanese specialists, the expert panelist committee for rating statements by the modified Delphi method, and the evaluating committee of moderators] were organized. Fifteen AIP specialists extracted specific clinical statements from a total of 871 articles in the literature using a PubMed search (1963- 2008) and a secondary database, and developed the CQs and statements. The expert panelists individually rated these clinical statements using a modified Delphi approach in which a clinical statement receiving a median score greater than 7 on a 9-point scale from the panel was regarded as valid. The professional committee developed 13, 6, 6, and 11 CQs and statements for the concept and diagnosis, extra-pancreatic lesions, differential diagnosis and treatment, respectively. The expert panelists regarded them as valid after two-round modified Delphi approaches. After evaluation by the moderators, the Japanese clinical guidelines for AIP were established. The digest versions of the present guidelines have been published in the official journal of the Japan Pancreas Society, "Pancreas." Full versions divided into three series are scheduled to be published in the present and followings two issues in the Journal of Gastroenterology with approval of Professor Go VLW, the Editor-in-Chief of "Pancreas".
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