ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Right Upper Quadrant Pain: 2022 Update

Expert Panel on Gastrointestinal Imaging:

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acute right upper quadrant pain is one of the most common presenting symptoms in hospital emergency departments, as well as outpatient settings. Although gallstone-related acute cholecystitis is a leading consideration in diagnosis, a myriad of extrabiliary sources including hepatic, pancreatic, gastroduodenal, and musculoskeletal should also be considered. This document focuses on the diagnostic accuracy of imaging studies performed specifically to evaluate acute right upper quadrant pain, with biliary etiologies including acute cholecystitis and its complications being the most common. An additional consideration of extrabiliary sources such as acute pancreatitis, peptic ulcer disease, ascending cholangitis, liver abscess, hepatitis, and painful liver neoplasms remain a diagnostic consideration in the right clinical setting. The use of radiographs, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, CT, and MRI for these indications are discussed. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S211-S223
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • AUC
  • Abdomen
  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Appropriate Use Criteria
  • Appropriateness Criteria
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Imaging
  • Pain
  • Right upper quadrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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