Right hepatic artery
The right hepatic artery arises from the hepatic artery proper, a branch of the common hepatic artery (from the celiac trunk). It supplies most of the right lobe of the liver as well as the middle part of the (common) bile duct.
The first branch of the right hepatic artery is the cystic artery which supplies the gallbladder. As it ascends, the right hepatic artery typically bifurcates into anterior and posterior branches, just prior to entering the right lobe of the liver.
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the right hepatic artery.
|Hepatic artery proper
|Cystic artery, anterior segmental artery of liver, posterior segmental artery of liver, right artery of caudate lobe
|Right lobe of liver, middle part of common bile duct, part of the body
of the gallbladder
The right hepatic artery usually comes off the proper hepatic artery just anterior to the hepatic portal vein and to the left of the common bile duct. From its origin, it ascends obliquely to the right, passing posterior to the common hepatic duct into the cystohepatic triangle (of Calot). This triangle is formed by the common hepatic duct, the cystic duct and the visceral surface of the liver. The right hepatic artery gives off the cystic artery close to the cystic duct and continues its superior course to enter the right lobe of liver. It typically splits into an anterior and a posterior branch as it approaches the liver surface.
Branches and supply
The right hepatic artery has four branches;
- The cystic artery is the major arterial supply of the gallbladder and the cystic duct. From its origin it travels to the neck of the gallbladder where it divides into a superficial and a deep branch.
- The anterior and posterior segmental arteries enter the right lobe of the liver, branching further to supply specific segments of the right lobe. The anterior segmental artery supplies segments V, VIII and often segment I, while the posterior segmental artery supplies segments VI and VII. The anterior segmental artery may also provide small branches to the body of the gallbladder.
- The small right artery of caudate lobe gives off twigs that supply the caudate lobe of the liver.
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The most common anatomical variation of the right hepatic artery is a replaced or accessory artery that originates from the superior mesenteric artery. This occurs in about 10-20% of people. In rare instances, the right hepatic artery may also stem either from the gastroduodenal artery or directly from the aorta. In about 24% of people, the right hepatic artery passes anterior to the common hepatic duct.
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