Anatomy of the right hepatic artery

The right hepatic artery supplies oxygenated blood to the right side of the liver. It usually branches from the common hepatic artery, which supplies blood to multiple organs, including the liver, pancreas, stomach, and gallbladder.

This article will discuss the anatomy, function, and clinical significance of the right hepatic artery.


structure and location

The right hepatic artery is located in the abdomen. It is a branch of the hepatic artery, a branch of the common hepatic artery that supplies oxygenated blood to various abdominal organs.

It continues from the hepatic artery itself, past the common hepatic duct (the tube that carries bile from the liver) into what’s called Carrot’s triangle, an area that contains the cystic duct (the tube that carries bile from the liver). gallbladder) and common hepatic duct, and part of the liver.

The right hepatic artery gives rise to the cystic artery as it approaches the cystic duct. The cystic artery supplies the gallbladder. As the right hepatic artery moves up, it enters the right part of the liver.

Inside the liver, the right hepatic artery divides into two parts: an anterior (anterior) segmental branch and a posterior (posterior) segmental branch.

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Anatomical variation

In some people, the right hepatic artery arises from the superior mesenteric artery rather than the common hepatic artery. This is called the replaced right hepatic artery. It happens to about 10.6% of people. Rarely, the right hepatic artery arises from the gastroduodenal artery.

The surgeon needs to know the location of the right hepatic artery, especially in the case of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (insertion of instruments through a small incision and removal of organs). But this information is also important for other procedures, such as liver transplants.


The right hepatic artery supplies oxygen-rich blood to the right side of the liver.

Why is the liver important?

Your liver plays many important roles, including:

  • Filters blood and breaks down toxins like alcohol
  • Produces bile to help digest fats and remove waste
  • Helps prevent infections by filtering bacteria from the blood
  • process excess sugar and store it as glycogen
  • Produces albumin, a protein that prevents fluid from leaking from the blood into body tissues
  • Regulates amino acid production to help produce protein
  • regulate blood clotting
  • Store essential vitamins and minerals

clinical significance

Arterial disease can cause serious problems because the right hepatic artery supplies blood to the liver. Sometimes, problems with the right hepatic artery can signal an underlying disease.

Underlying diseases or conditions that can affect the right hepatic artery include:

  • Aneurysm: When the wall of an artery becomes weak, this can lead to an eversion called an aneurysm. The aneurysm can rupture, causing life-threatening internal bleeding. Aneurysms of the right hepatic artery can occur but are very rare.
  • atherosclerosis: This is a condition in which the walls of arteries become hardened or thickened due to the buildup of cholesterol plaque. You are more likely to develop atherosclerosis if you have high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, or obesity. Smokers and sedentary people are also at increased risk. Atherosclerosis of the right hepatic artery is rare, but can occur and cause problems in the liver.
  • thrombosis: This occurs when a clot forms in the blood and blocks a vein or artery, such as the right hepatic artery. Thrombosis is a common complication of liver transplantation. This is a serious complication that can lead to liver failure, eventually requiring a new donor liver.
  • narrow: Right hepatic artery stenosis, also called stenosis, can also be a complication of liver transplant surgery. This rarely happens in people who have not had a liver transplant.
  • Extrahepatic bile duct compression (EBD): This rare syndrome occurs when the right hepatic artery compresses the EBD. This can lead to cholangitis, an inflammation of the bile duct system that can cause fever, abdominal pain, chills, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), nausea and vomiting, and lethargy.

signs of liver problems or failure

Problems with the hepatic arteries can lead to liver failure or other problems with this organ. Possible symptoms of liver failure include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • upset stomach
  • jaundice
  • fever and chills
  • fatigue
  • dehydration
  • Puzzled
  • loss of appetite
  • floating stool
  • yellow or dark urine


The right hepatic artery is an artery that branches from the proper hepatic artery, an extension of the common hepatic artery. It supplies blood to the right part of the liver. It is the only source of oxygen-rich blood for this part of the liver.