Right pulmonary artery

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 30 Jul 2023

The right pulmonary artery is one of the branches of the pulmonary trunk, branching at the level of the transthoracic plane of Ludwig. It is longer than the left pulmonary artery and courses perpendicularly away from the pulmonary trunk and left pulmonary artery, between the superior vena cava and the right main bronchus. As it courses to the right it has an almost horizontal path inferior to the aortic arch and carina, anterior to the esophagus and right main bronchus, before dividing just prior to entering the superior aspect of the hilum of the right lung into upper and lower trunks:

  • the upper lobar artery (truncus anterior) supplies the right upper lobe and courses medial to the right main bronchus; it is smaller than the descending interlobar artery

  • the descending interlobar artery supplies the right middle lobe and right lower lobe and courses lateral to the right main bronchus

The normal upper limit in size can be variable but is usually taken at around 20 mm 3.

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: pulmonary arteries
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  • Figure 2: pulmonary hila (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 3: development from the aortic arches (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 4: pulmonary arteries annotated on CTPA
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