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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.
origin: continuation of descending thoracic aorta at T12
course: descends anterior and slightly to the left of the lumbar vertebral bodies
celiac artery (T12)
termination: bifurcates into right and left common iliac arteries at L4
posterior to the median arcuate ligament between two crura of diaphragm
anterior and slightly to the left of the lumbar vertebral bodies
IVC is on its right
crossed anteriorly by the left renal vein, uncinate process of the pancreas and 3rd part of the duodenum between the superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric artery origins
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.
The diameter of the aorta decreases from 28 mm in the thorax to less than 20 mm below the kidneys 5.
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.
Single ventral branches (to the gut and related viscera)
Paired branches to other viscera
Paired branches to abdominal wall
Single parietal branches
variable level of bifurcation
direct branches (e.g. splenic, hepatic, accessory hepatic, accessory SMA, internal iliac)
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- 4. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2007) ISBN: 9781416023647 - Google Books
- 5. Chhaya V & Sundaram V. Abdominal Aortic Repair in Women: Criteria for Repair and Device Selection. Vascular Disease in Women. 2021;:61-72. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-822959-0.00001-8