The hepatic artery, [a. hepatica, french : artère hépatique], which is intermediate in size, at least in the adult, between the coronary and splenic arteries, gives branches to the stomach, the duodenum, and the pancreas, besides supplying the liver and gall-bladder.
It inclines upwards, and to the right side, between the layers of the small omentum, and in front of the foramen of Winslow, to reach the transverse fissure of the liver, in which course it lies upon the vena portee and to the left of the bile-duct. Previously to reaching the liver, it gives the following branches:
The pyloric artery, [a. pylorica, french : artère pylorique], descends to reach the pyloric end of the stomach, turning from right to left along its upper curvature, supplies it with branches, and inosculates with the coronary artery. This is sometimes a branch of the following artery (the gastro-duodenal).
The gastro-duodenal artery, [a. gastro-duodenalis; french : artère gastro-duodénale], descends behind the duodenum near the pylorus, and on reaching the lower border of the stomach, changes both its name and direction. It runs from right to left along the great curvature of the stomach, between the layers of the great omentum, assuming the name of right gastroepiploic, [a. gastro-epiploica dextra,] g, and inosculates with the left gastro-epiploic derived from the splenic artery. This artery gives branches upwards to both surfaces of the stomach, and long slender vessels downwards to the omentum. From the gastro-duodenal artery a branch, pancreatico-duodenal [a. pancreatico-duodenalis], descends along the inner margin of the duodenum, between it and the pancreas, and, after furbishing several branches to both these organs, anastomoses with a small offset of the superior mesenteric artery.
Near the transverse fissure of the liver, the hepatic artery divides into its right and left branches, which are intended for the supply of the corresponding lobes of that organ. The left, the smaller division, lying in front of the vena portae, diverges at an acute angle from the other branch, and turns outwards to reach the left extremity of the transverse fissure of the liver, where it enters that organ.
The right hepatic artery inclines outwards to the right extremity of the transverse fissure. When crossing behind the cystic duct, it gives off a branch, l0 , the cystic artery, [a. cystica ; french : artère cystique] which turns upwards and forwards upon the neck of the gall-bladder, and divides into two smaller branches, of which one ramifies between its coats at its depending surface, the other between it and the liver. The right hepatic artery then divides into two or three branches, which enter the liver by its transverse fissure, and ramify in its substance, accompanying the divisions of the vena porta and hepatic ducts.
The hepatic artery may arise from the superior mesenteric artery (french : artère mésentérique supérieure), or from the aorta itself. Accessory hepatic arteries are often met with, usually coming from the coronary artery of the stomach. It has been found to furnish a phrenic branch.