Vasculature of the Abdomen

The regions and planes of the abdomen are composed of many different organs and many layers of tissue with varying vasculature and innervation. There are various arterial supplies to the abdomen which all come from branches of the aorta. There are two venous structures that help to drain the abdominal structures, carrying deoxygenated blood and waste products away.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and supplies the body with oxygenated blood via the systemic circulation with the cardiac output it receives from the left ventricle. The abdominal portion of the aorta supplies most of the abdomen, and begins at the level of the twelfth thoracic vertebra (T12), and then terminates at L4 by bifurcating into the left and right common iliac arteries.

The coeliac trunk arises from the abdominal aorta at T12 and supplies the foregut gastrointestinal viscera. It divides into three major branches- the left gastric, splenic and common hepatic arteries.

The superior mesenteric artery arises from the abdominal aorta at L1, and supplies blood to the midgut organs- found from the distal duodenum to the proximal 2/3 of the transverse colon.

The inferior mesenteric artery (IMA) arises from the abdominal aorta at L3, and supplies blood to the hindgut organs- the distal 1/3 of the transverse colon to the rectum.

The venous drainage of the abdomen is carried out by the portal venous system and the systemic venous system. The portal venous system transports venous blood from the abdominal vasculature to the liver, whilst the systemic venous system returns blood to the right atrium of the heart via the inferior vena cava.

In this section, learn more about the vasculature of the abdomen- the arterial supply and the venous drainage.

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Arteries of the Abdomen

  • The Superior Mesenteric Artery
  • The Aorta
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Venous Drainage of the Abdomen

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