science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Thoracic and Abdominal Artery Branches (Advanced*)

To view these resources with no ads please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

* Our Advanced Anatomy content is developed for High School and/or Introductory College Level Students.

Abdominal Aorta

The Thoracic Aorta

The Thoracic Aorta (portion of descending aorta) descends through the thorax giving off many arteries.

Visceral branches:

    > pericardial - posterior pericardium

    > bronchial - 2 left, 1 right supplying blood to the lungs and bronchial pleurae

    > esophageal - esophagus

    > mediastinal - posterior mediastinum

Parietal branches:

    > posterior intercostal arteries - 9-10 pairs - anastomose around the front with anterior intercostals

    > superior phrenic arteries - posterior diaphragm

The Abdominal Aorta

The Abdominal Aorta pierces the diaphragm and enters abdominal cavity and is now abdominal aorta over the vertebral column. It gives off the following branches:

    > inferior phrenic - to supply the inferior diaphragm

    > celiac trunk gives off 3 branches:

        1. common hepatic artery - gives off a complex group of arteries to the  stomach:

                  • right gastric artery which meets up (anastomoses) with left gastric artery to supply the lesser curvature of the stomach.

                  • right gastroepiploic artery that meets up (anastomoses) with left gastroepiploic artery (branch of splenic artery) to supply the greater curvature of the stomach.       

        2. splenic artery (to spleen)

        3. left gastric artery (to stomach)

    > superior mesenteric - to supply the midgut (duodenum to mid-transverse colon)

    > suprarenals - to supply the adrenal gland

    > renals - to supply the kidneys

    > gonadals - to supply the testes and ovaries

    > inferior mesenteric - to supply the hindgut (mid-transverse colon to rectum)

    > lumbar arteries - several pairs off the posterior side of the descending aorta

    > median sacral artery - off the posterior side of the descending aorta

    > common iliac arteries - where descending aorta splits at L4 to supply blood to the lower limbs,
        pelvic organs and lower abdominal wall.


Test your knowledge of the blood vessels of the abdominal aorta with the following labeling page (included in the PDF below):

Abdominal Aorta labeling

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site). has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.