Causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain

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Diffuse Abdominal Pain
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vendhan Ramanujam M.B.B.S [2]


Acute right upper quadrant abdominal pain usually arises from the liver and the biliary tree. Gallstone diseases are among the most common causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain; hence, an emphasis is first laid on the gallstone diseases while approaching the patient.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.

Causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain developed by

Common Causes

Causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain developed by

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Congestive heart failure, ischemic colitis, myocarditis, veno-occlusive disease
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic Herpes zoster, polymyositis
Drug Side Effect Cholecystitis, duodenal ulcer
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Addisonian crisis, adrenal hemorrhage, adrenal tuberculosis, constipation, pheochromocytoma
Environmental Heat stroke
Gastroenterologic Acute cholecystitis, acute fatty liver, acute hepatitis, acute pancreatitis, ascending cholangitis, ascending retrocecal appendicitis, atypical acute appendicitis, biliary colic, biliary dyskinesia, Budd-Chiari syndrome, cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, colitis, congestive heart failure, constipation, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis, duodenal ulcer, dyspepsia, gallbladder perforation, gallstone disease, gallstone pancreatitis, gangrenous cholecystitis, gastroenteritis, hepatic abscess, hepatic flexure carcinoma, hepatic tumor, hepatomegaly, HIV, inflammatory hepatomegaly, irritable bowel syndrome, ischemic colitis, peptic ulcer disease, perihepatitis, seizures, sepsis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic Budd-Chiari syndrome, choledocholithiasis, hemoglobinopathies, sickle cell disease, veno-occlusive disease
Iatrogenic Partial hepatectomy
Infectious Disease Acute hepatitis, adrenal hemorrhage, adrenal tuberculosis, ascending cholangitis, colitis, duodenal ulcer, Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome, gastroenteritis, hepatic abscess, herpes zoster, HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, perihepatitis, pyelonephritis, sepsis, subdiaphragmatic abscess
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Abdominal wall pain, painful rib syndrome, polymyositis
Neurologic Seizures
Nutritional/Metabolic Choledocholithiasis, constipation, diabetic ketoacidosis
Obstetric/Gynecologic Acute fatty liver, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, preeclampsia
Oncologic Hepatic flexure carcinoma, hepatic tumor, Kaposi's sarcoma, malignant infiltration of liver, metastatic infiltration of right adrenal gland, pheochromocytoma, renal carcinoma, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Empyema, pleural effusion, pleurisy, pleuritis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary infarction
Renal/Electrolyte Glomerulonephritis, hydronephrosis, pyelonephritis, renal carcinoma, renal colic, renal cyst
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Addisonian crisis, glomerulonephritis, polymyositis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Adrenal hemorrhage, collisions, falls, solid organ laceration or perforated viscus
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Heavy exercise

Causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain developed by

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Causes of right upper quadrant abdominal pain developed by


  1. Haberman, D.; Castignola, M.; Martínez, A.; Paladini, H.; Toda, M.; Baldessari, EM.; Ramisch, D.; Gondolesi, G. (2011). "[Acute abdomen with right hypochondrial pain: an unusual cause]". Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam. 41 (4): 276, 357–8. PMID 22292219. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)


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