Marginal artery of Drummond

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 20 May 2020

The marginal artery of Drummond, also known as the marginal artery of the colon, is a continuous arterial circle or arcade along the inner border of the colon formed by the anastomoses of the terminal branches of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and inferior mesenteric artery (IMA).

Straight vessels (known as vasa recta) pass from this marginal artery to the colon.

The marginal artery is an important connection between the SMA and IMA providing collateral flow in the event of occlusion or significant stenosis. 

The junction of the SMA and IMA territories is at the splenic flexure.  Anastomoses here are often weak or absent, hence the marginal artery at this point (known as Griffiths point) is often focally small or discontinuous. For this reason, the splenic flexure is a watershed (border zone) area prone to ischemia and infarction.

The other important connection between the SMA and IMA (though only variably present) is the mesenteric meandering artery (arc of Riolan).

The marginal artery of Drummond is named after British pathologist and anatomist Sir David Drummond (1852–1932) who found that even though the three main colic arteries were surgically tied off, contrast medium injected into the ileocolic artery still passed to the sigmoidal branches 4,5.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: normal middle colic artery angiogram
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  • Case 2: normal left colic artery angiogram
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