Superior epigastric artery

In human anatomy, superior epigastric artery refers to a blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood and arises from the internal thoracic artery (referred to as the internal mammary artery in the accompanying diagram). It anastomoses with the inferior epigastric artery at the umbilicus and supplies the anterior part of the abdominal wall and some of the diaphragm.

Superior epigastric artery
Superior epigastric artery, internal thoracic artery and inferior epigastric artery. (Superior epigastric artery is labeled at right center.)
Sourceinternal thoracic
Veinsuperior epigastric vein
Latinarteria epigastrica superior
Anatomical terminology

Along its course, it is accompanied by a similarly named vein, the superior epigastric vein.

Collateralization in vascular disease and aortic coarctation

The superior epigastric arteries, inferior epigastric arteries, internal thoracic arteries and left subclavian artery and right subclavian artery / brachiocephalic are collateral vessels to the thoracic aorta and abdominal aorta.

If the abdominal aorta develops a significant stenosis and/or blockage (as may be caused by atherosclerosis), this collateral pathway may develop sufficiently, over time, to supply blood to the lower limbs.[1]

A congenitally narrowed aorta, due to coarctation, is often associated with a significant enlargement of the internal thoracic and epigastric arteries.[2]

See also


  1. Yurdakul M, Tola M, Ozdemir E, Bayazit M, Cumhur T (April 2006). "Internal thoracic artery-inferior epigastric artery as a collateral pathway in aortoiliac occlusive disease". J. Vasc. Surg. 43 (4): 707–13. doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2005.12.042. PMID 16616225.
  2. Huhmann W, Kunitsch G, Dalichau H (1976). "[Coarctation of the aorta on the plain chest x-ray (author's transl)]". Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 101 (41): 1477–81. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1104294. PMID 964150.
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