Common hepatic artery

The common hepatic artery (Latin: arteria hepatica communis) is a short blood vessel arising from the coeliac trunk that provides arterial blood supply to the liver, pylorus of the stomach, duodenum, pancreas, and gallbladder. 

On its course, it gives rise to several branches, including:

  • hepatic artery proper
  • gastroduodenal artery, and
  • right gastric artery (sometimes).

Hepatic artery proper

The hepatic artery proper (or proper hepatic artery) ascends within the free edge of the lesser omentum and reaches the liver. It travels on the left side of the bile duct and anterior to the portal vein. Near the porta hepatis, it divides into the right and left hepatic arteries. As the right hepatic artery approaches the liver, it gives rise to the cystic artery that supplies the gallbladder. 

Often the proper hepatic artery gives rise to the right gastric artery that descends to the pylorus of the stomach, passes along the lesser curvature supplying branches to it, and anastomosing with the left gastric artery.

Gastroduodenal artery

The gastroduodenal artery is a small blood vessel that most commonly arises from the common hepatic artery but may have variations in its origin. 

It gives rise to the posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery and may also give off the supraduodenal artery near the upper border of the superior part of the duodenum. The gastroduodenal artery itself continues to descend posterior to the superior part of the duodenum. When it reaches the lower border of the superior part of the duodenum, the gastroduodenal artery divides into its terminal branches: the right gastro-omental artery and the anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery.

The right gastro-omental artery runs to the left, along the greater curvature of the stomach and anastomoses with the left gastro-omental artery from the splenic artery. The right gastro-omental artery gives off branches to both surfaces of the stomach, as well as branches that descend into the greater omentum.

The anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery descends and supplies the head of the pancreas and the duodenum (along with the posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery). These arteries eventually anastomose with the anterior and posterior branches of the inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery.

Right gastric artery

The right gastric artery is variable in its origin. In most cases, it arises from the proper hepatic artery. However, sometimes it originates from the region of the division of the common hepatic artery or from the common hepatic artery itself. It descends and supplies branches to the lesser curvature of the stomach inferiorly.