Sonographic Murphy sign

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 20 Sep 2021

Sonographic Murphy sign is defined as maximal abdominal tenderness from pressure of the ultrasound probe over the visualized 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 the patient's breath abruptly stops, then it is a positive Murphy sign 5,6.

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, orthopedics, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. He is best remembered for his eponymous sign 4,5.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.