Common hepatic artery

Last revised by Dr Mohammadtaghi Niknejad on 21 Nov 2022

The common hepatic artery (CHA) is one of the 3 branches of the celiac artery.

The common hepatic artery is intermediate in size, commonly arising as a terminal branch of the celiac artery, which courses to the right.

It courses posterior to the parietal peritoneum of the lesser sac, first passing anteriorly to the pancreas, then coursing inferiorly towards the first part of the duodenum. It gives off the right gastric artery, which runs superiorly along the lower half of the lesser curvature of the stomach to anastomose with the left gastric artery. The common hepatic artery then passes slightly superiorly, where it runs anterior to the portal vein and medial to the common bile duct after entering the free edge of the lesser omentum (or hepatoduodenal ligament). As it courses superiorly towards the porta hepatis, it gives off the gastroduodenal artery inferiorly, then terminates as the proper hepatic artery.

Variation in hepatic arterial anatomy is seen in 40-45% of people. Classic branching of the common hepatic artery from the celiac artery and the proper hepatic artery into the right and left hepatic arteries to supply the entire liver is only 55-60%.

A single or double cystic artery may arise from the proper hepatic artery.

For further details, see variant hepatic arterial anatomy.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: angiogram
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  • Figure 2: celiac artery (Gray's illustration)
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  • Case 1: normal CHA angiogram
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  • Figure 3: CHA anatomic variation (diagram)
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  • Case 2: direct aortic origin
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