A positive Murphy's sign is seen in acute cholecystitis.
It is elicited by firmly placing a hand at the costal margin in the right upper abdominal quadrant and asking the patient to breathe deeply. If the gallbladder is inflamed, the patient will experience pain and catch their breath as the gallbladder descends and contacts the palpating hand.
A similar manoeuvre in the left upper quadrant should not elicit discomfort.
Last reviewed 01/2018