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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Abdomen: Inferior Phrenic Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Abdomen

Inferior Phrenic Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

Variations in the origin of the phrenic arteries are numerous and supplementary phrenic vessels are common.

The inferior phrenic arteries arise from a common trunk (55%, Poynter) from the aorta or the celiac trunk in 18-30% of cases, or as independent branches from these same sources in 62%.

Other sources may be the hepatic, left gastric, renal, suprarenal, or superior mesenteric arteries in about 8% of cases.

When independent, the right and left phrenics usually arise asymmetrically.

Occasionally, the inferior phrenic may supply an "accessory" renal artery and suprarenal branches. In the usual sense of the word there are no "accessory" renal arteries; they are all end-arteries.

In one study (with added data from five additional sources), of 848 bodies, the origin of the inferior phrenic is as follows: right and left separately from the celiac trunk, 20.3%; as a common trunk from the aorta, 19.7%; right artery from the aorta, left from the celiac, 14.2%; common trunk from the celiac, 13.6%; separately from the aorta, 13.2%; right from the celiac, left from the aorta, 6.8%; right from the renal, left from the aorta, 3.7%; right from the renal , left from the celiac, 3.5%; right and left from the left gastric, 0.7%; right from left gastric, left from aorta. 0.5%; right from the aorta, left from renal, 0.5%; right from celiac, left from left gastric, 0.5%; right from aorta, left from left gastric, 0.4%; right and left from renal, 0.4%; and all other sources and combinations, 1.9%.

In some cases in which the right inferior gastric arose from a renal artery, it was from a superior polar renal artery (four cases). When both the right and left inferior phrenics arose from the left gastric, it was from a common trunk in three cases. When the arteries arose from the aorta as a common trunk, it was usually from the left side of the aorta.

An inferior phrenic may give rise to an esophageal artery.

Image 108, Image 118, Image 221, Image 255A, Image 255B, Image 255C, Image 255D, Image 255E, Image 255F, Image 384


Anson, B.J. and C.B. McVay. (1936) The topographical positions and the mutual relations of the visceral branches of the abdominal aorta. A study of 100 consecutive cadavers. Anat. Rec. 67:7-15.

Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A. K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Baltimore and Munich.

Grieg, H.W., Anson, B.J. and S.S. Coleman. (1951) The inferior phrenic artery. Types of origin in 850 body-halves and diaphragmatic relationship. Q. Bull. Northwestern University Medical School 25:345-350.

Kostinovitch, L.I. (1937) A case of simultaneous occurrence of a number of variations of the visceral branches of the abdominal aorta. Anat. Rec. 67:399-403.

Larcher, -. (1873) Artère diaphragmatique inférieure droite, naissant de la rénale. Lyon Méd. 12:386.

Merklin, R.J. and N.A. Michels. (1958) The variant renal and suprarenal blood supply with data on the inferior phrenic, ureteral and gonadal arteries. A statistical analysis based on 185 dissections and review of the literature. J. Inter. College Surgeons 29:41-76.

Pick, J.W. and B.J. Anson. (1940) Inferior phrenic artery: Origin and suprarenal branches. Anat. Rec. 78:413-427.

Poynter, C.W.M. (1922) Congenital anomalies of the arteries and veins of the human body with bibliography. The University studies of the University of Nebraska 22:1-106.

Swigart, LaV.L., Siekert, R.G., Hambley, W.C. and B.J. Anson. (1950) The esophageal arteries. An anatomic study of 150 specimens. Surg., Gynecol. Obstet. 90:234-243.

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