ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Right Lower Quadrant Pain-Suspected Appendicitis

J Am Coll Radiol. 2018 Nov;15(11S):S373-S387. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2018.09.033.


Appendicitis remains the most common surgical pathology responsible for right lower quadrant (RLQ) abdominal pain presenting to emergency departments in the United States, where the incidence continues to increase. 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 experts. The American College of Radiology 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.

Keywords: AUC; Appendicitis; Appropriate Use Criteria; Appropriateness Criteria; Atypical; CT; MRI; Pregnant; Right lower quadrant.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Appendicitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • United States


  • Contrast Media