Sonographic Murphy sign

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Sonographic Murphy sign is defined as maximal abdominal tenderness from pressure of the ultrasound probe over the visualised gallbladder 1,2. It is a sign of local inflammation around the gallbladder along with right upper quadrant pain, tenderness and/or a mass 2.

It is one of the most important sonographic signs of cholecystitis and when combined with the presence or absence of cholelithiasis it has a high positive and negative predictive value respectively 3.

Sonographic Murphy sign is the radiological correlate of the clinical Murphy sign, which is elicited by deep palpation of the right hypochondrium followed by the examiner asking the patient to inspire. If pain is precipitated and the patient's breath abruptly stops, then it is a positive Murphy sign 5.

History and etymology

John Benjamin Murphy (1857–1916), was an American surgeon, regarded by his peers as a surgeon without equal, in view of his mastery of general surgery, orthopaedics, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. He is best remembered for his eponymous sign 4,5.

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Article information

rID: 23318
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ultrasound Murphy sign
  • Sonographic Murphy's sign
  • Ultrasound Murphy's sign

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