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Celiac trunk

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Celiac trunk

Artery: Celiac artery
The celiac artery and its branches. (Celiac artery visibile at center.)
Surface projections of the major organs of the trunk, showing celiac artery in middle
Latin Truncus coeliacus, arteria colica
Gray's subject #154 603
Source abdominal aorta   
Branches left gastric artery
common hepatic artery
splenic artery
Precursor vitelline arteries
MeSH Celiac+Artery

The celiac (or coeliac) artery, also known as the celiac trunk, or truncus coeliacus, is the first major branch of the abdominal aorta. It is 1.25 cm in length, in a horizontal direction. Branching from the aorta anterior to the upper border of L1 vertebra (almost immediately after entering the abdominal cavity through the diaphragm at T12) in humans, it is one of three anterior/ midline branches of the abdominal aorta (the others are the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries).

Region supplied

The celiac artery supplies oxygenated blood to the liver, stomach, abdominal esophagus, spleen and the superior half of both the duodenum and the pancreas. These structures correspond to the embryonic foregut. (Similarly, the superior mesenteric artery and inferior mesenteric artery feed structures arising from the embryonic midgut and hindgut respectively. Note that these three anterior branches of the abdominal aorta are distinct and cannot substitute for one another, although there are limited connections between their terminal branches.)

The celiac artery is an essential source of blood, since the interconnections with the other major arteries of the gut are not sufficient to sustain adequate perfusion. Thus it cannot be safely ligated in a living person, and obstruction of the celiac artery will lead to necrosis of the structures it supplies.


There are three main divisions of the celiac artery, and each in turn has its own named branches.

Artery Branches
left gastric artery esophageal branch, hepatic branch
common hepatic artery proper hepatic artery, right gastric artery, gastroduodenal artery
splenic artery dorsal pancreatic artery, short gastric arteries, left gastro-omental artery, greater pancreatic artery

The celiac artery may also give rise to the inferior phrenic arteries.


The coeliac artery is the only major artery that nourishes the abdominal digestive organs that does not have a similarly named vein.

Most blood returning from the digestive organs (including from the area of distribution of the coeliac artery) is diverted to the liver via the portal venous system for further processing and detoxification in the liver before returning to the systemic circulation via the hepatic veins.

In contrast to the drainage of midgut and hindgut structures by the superior mesenteric vein and inferior mesenteric vein respectively, venous return from the coeliac artery is through either the splenic vein emptying into the hepatic portal vein or via smaller tributaries of the portal venous system.

Additional images

External links

  • 38:01-09 - "Branches of the celiac trunk."
  • 40:05-01 - "Parietal and visceral branches of the abdominal aorta."
  • eMedicine Dictionary
  • Georgetown University)
  • MedEd at Loyola Radio/curriculum/Vascular/hema144A.jpg
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