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Abdominal aorta

The abdominal aorta (plural: aortas or aortae 4) is the main blood vessel in the abdominal cavity that transmits oxygenated blood from the thoracic cavity to the organs within the abdomen and to the lower limbs.

It is a continuation of descending thoracic aorta at T12 posterior to the median arcuate ligament and diaphragmatic crura.

It descends caudally in the retroperitoneum, anterior and slightly to the left of the lumbar vertebral bodies. The IVC lies to its right.

Between the celiac and superior mesenteric artery origins, it is crossed anteriorly by the splenic vein and body of the pancreas and between the superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric artery origins, it is crossed anteriorly by the left renal vein, uncinate process of the pancreas and 3rd part of the duodenum.

It eventually terminates at the L4 level by bifurcating into right and left common iliac arteries. This is also where the origin of median sacral artery is, which descends along the middle of sacral promontory.

Branches of the abdominal aorta can be thought of as belonging to a number of groups.

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

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Article information

rID: 5157
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Tag: artery, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Abdominal aortas
  • Abdominal aortae

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: abdominal aorta (anterior dissection)
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  • Figure 3: abdominal aorta (posterior dissection)
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  • Figure 4: branches
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  • Case 1: abdominal aorta MRA
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