ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Right Lower Quadrant Pain: 2022 Update Academic Article uri icon

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  • This document focuses on imaging in the adult and pregnant populations with right lower quadrant (RLQ) abdominal pain, including patients with fever and leukocytosis. Appendicitis remains the most common surgical pathology responsible for RLQ abdominal pain in the United States. Other causes of RLQ pain include right colonic diverticulitis, ureteral stone, and infectious enterocolitis. Appropriate imaging in the diagnosis of appendicitis has resulted in decreased negative appendectomy rate from as high as 25% to approximately 1% to 3%. Contrast-enhanced CT remains the primary and most appropriate imaging modality to evaluate this patient population. MRI is approaching CT in sensitivity and specificity as this technology becomes more widely available and utilization increases. Unenhanced MRI and ultrasound remain the diagnostic procedures of choice in the pregnant patient. MRI and ultrasound continue to perform best in the hands of the experts. 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 process support the systematic analysis of the medical literature from peer-reviewed journals. Established methodology principles such as Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE are adapted to evaluate the evidence. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method User Manual provides the methodology to determine the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances in which peer-reviewed literature is lacking or equivocal, experts may be the primary evidentiary source available to formulate a recommendation.


  • Kambadakone, Avinash R
  • Santillan, Cynthia S
  • Kim, David H
  • Fowler, Kathryn J
  • Birkholz, James H
  • Camacho, Marc A
  • Cash, Brooks D
  • Dane, Bari
  • Felker, Robin A
  • Grossman, Eric J
  • Korngold, Elena K
  • Liu, Peter S
  • Marin, Daniele
  • McCrary, Marion
  • Pietryga, Jason A
  • Weinstein, Stefanie
  • Zukotynski, Katherine
  • Carucci, Laura R

publication date

  • November 2022