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The three ventral branches of abdominal aortaare coeliac trunk (artery of foregut), superior mesenteric arteries (artery of midgut) and inferior mesenteric artery(artery of hindgut). There are anastomoses between the branches of these three main arteries.


Coeliac trunk


It is the artery of foregut; therefore it supplies all derivatives of foregut, i.e. lower part of esophagus, stomach, proximal part of duodenum, liver, spleen, and major part of pancreas. It is a ventral branch of abdominal aorta and arises at the level of T12–L1 disc space, just below the aortic opening of diaphragm.


Relation of co celiac trunk

  1. It is surrounded by the coeliac plexus of nerves.
  2. Anteriorly, it is related to the lesser sac and to the lesser omentum.
  3. To its right, there are the right crus of the diaphragm, the right coeliac ganglion and the caudate process of theliver.
  4. To its left, there are the left crus of the diaphragm, the left coeliac ganglion and the cardiac end of the stomach.
  5. Inferiorly, it is related to the body of the pancreas and to the splenic vein.

Branches of coeliac trunk

  • The coeliac trunk is only about 1.25 cm long and it ends by divided into its three terminal branches :-
  1. Left gastric artery: - It is the smallest branch of coeliac trunk. It ends by anastomosing with right gastric artery. It gives off:-
    1. Two or three esophageal branches.
    2. Number of gastric branches.
  2. Common hepatic artery: - It runs to the right behind lesser sac and enters the free right border of lesser omentum and then run upwards as proper hepatic artery, in front of portal vein and to the left of bile duct. After reaching the porta hepatis it terminates by dividing into right and left hepatic branches. It gives of following branches :-
    1. Gastroduodenal artery:-It terminates by dividing into right gastroepiploic artery and superior pancreaticoduodenal artery.
      Note: - Part of hepatic artery, proximal to origin of gastroduodenal artery is called common hepatic artery and part distal to it is caned proper hepatic artery.
    2. Right gastric artery.
    3. Cystic artery: - It is a branch of right hepatic artery
  3. Splenic artery: - It is the largest branch of coeliac trunk. It runs horizontally to the left along upper border of pancreas and has tortuous course. It crosses left suprarenal gland and left kidney to enter the Linorenal ligament through which it reaches the hilum of spleen where it divides into 5-7 splenic (hilar) branches.1t gives off:-
    1. Numerous pancreatic branches: - These supply body and tail of pancreas. One of the pancreatic branches is large and is called arteria pancreatic magna. Another large branch is called arteria caudae pancreatis.
    2. Short gastric arteries: - Run in gastrosplenic Iigament and supply the fundus of stomach.
    3. Left gastroepiploic artery: - It anastomoses with right gastroepiploic artery and suppliesstomach andgreater omentum.
    4. Posterior gastric artery: - It is an inconsistent branch and supplies posterior body and fundus of stomach.

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Superior mesenteric artery

  • This the artery of the midgut and therefore supplies all derivatives of midgut, i.e. lower part of duodenum, jejunum, ileum, appendix, caecum, ascending colon, proximal (right) 2/3 of transverse colon and lower half of the head of pancreas. It is the ventral branch of abdominal aorta which arises at the level of L1 vertebra, 1 cm below coeliac trunk. It terminates in the right iliac fossa by anastomosing with a branch of ileocolic artery. It gives off following branches :-
  1. Inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery.
  2. Middle colic artery
  3. Right colic artery
  4. Ileocolic artery: - It divides into superior and inferior branches. Superior branch anastomoses with right colic artery and inferior branch anastomoses with termination of superior mesenteric artery. The inferior branch of ileocolic artery gives off following branches :-
    1. Ascending colic
    2. Anterior and posterior caecal
    3. Appendicular artery which provides a recurrent branch or recurrent appendicular artery
    4. ileal branch
  5. Jejunal and ileal branches
First four branches arise from right side of superior mesenteric artery whereas jejunal and ileal branches arise from left side.

Inferior mesenteric artery


This is the artery of hindgut and supplies the derivatives of hindgut, i.e. distal (left) 1/3 of transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, rectum and upper part of and canal, above the anal valves. It is a ventral branch of aorta and arises at the level of L3 vertebra, 3-4 cm above the bifurcation of aorta. Its gives off following branches:-

  1. Left colic artery: - It anastomoses with middle colic artery.
  2. Sigmoid arteries
  3. Superior rectal artery:-It is the continuation of inferior mesenteric artery beyond the root of sigmoid mesocolon.

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Marginal artery of Drummond


  1. Branches of superior mesenteric artery (ileocolic, right colic and middle colic) and inferior mesenteric artery form anastomosis with each other to form an arterial arcade, called marginal artery of Drummond. This arcade is situated along the concavity of co Ion. This arterial arcade supplies the colon and is capable of supplying it even in the absence of one of the main feeding trunk. This fact is utilized in surgery.
  2. Splenic flexure of colon is the watershed zone between SMA and IMA, i.e. splenic flexure has poor blood supply resulting from incomplete anastomosis of marginal arteries. Therefore, it is more vulnerable to ischemia.

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