Kimberly Zaleski

Kimberly Zaleski

Published: 26 Aug 2023


When it comes to the human body, there are countless intricate parts and systems that work together to keep us healthy and functioning. One such crucial component is the hepatic artery. While it may not be the most commonly discussed aspect of human anatomy, the hepatic artery plays a vital role in the functioning of our liver. In this article, we will delve into eight surprising facts about the hepatic artery that will not only expand your knowledge but also give you a deeper appreciation for the complex inner workings of our bodies. From its anatomy and blood supply to its importance in liver transplantation, prepare to be amazed by the fascinating details surrounding the hepatic artery.

Table of Contents

The hepatic artery supplies oxygenated blood to the liver

The hepatic artery is a vital blood vessel that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the liver. It branches off from the celiac trunk, a major branch of the abdominal aorta. This artery plays a crucial role in nourishing the liver cells and supporting their metabolic functions.

The hepatic artery has a unique blood flow pattern

Unlike most arteries in the body, the hepatic artery has a dual blood supply. Approximately 70% of the blood supply to the liver comes from the portal vein, while the remaining 30% comes from the hepatic artery. This unique arrangement ensures that the liver receives both oxygenated blood and nutrient-rich blood.

The hepatic artery has a high resistance to blockages

Due to its critical role in liver function, the hepatic artery has evolved to have a high resistance to blockages. It has numerous collateral blood vessels that can bypass any obstructions and ensure a constant supply of blood to the liver.

The hepatic artery is susceptible to certain diseases

Although the hepatic artery is designed to be resilient, certain diseases can affect its function. Hepatic artery stenosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing of the artery, can lead to reduced blood flow to the liver and subsequent liver damage. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent further complications.

The hepatic artery can be involved in liver transplantation

During a liver transplantation procedure, the hepatic artery is meticulously connected to the donor liver. This ensures that the new liver receives an adequate blood supply and can function properly in the recipient’s body. The surgical technique used for this anastomosis is crucial for the success of the transplantation.

The hepatic artery can be affected by liver cancer

In cases of liver cancer, the tumor may invade the hepatic artery or cause blockages within the vessel. This can disrupt the blood flow to the liver and contribute to the progression of the disease. Interventional radiology techniques, such as arterial embolization, can be used to target and block the blood supply to the tumor.

The hepatic artery serves as a landmark in surgical procedures

Due to its prominent location and significant role in liver function, the hepatic artery is often used as a landmark in various surgical procedures involving the liver and surrounding structures. Surgeons rely on its position to guide their incisions and ensure precision during hepatobiliary surgeries.

The hepatic artery can be evaluated using medical imaging

Medical imaging techniques such as Doppler ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs can be used to assess the patency and blood flow within the hepatic artery. These non-invasive diagnostic tools provide valuable insights into the health of the liver and help identify any abnormalities or diseases affecting the artery.

As we have explored the 8 surprising facts about the hepatic artery, it becomes evident that this blood vessel plays a critical role in liver function and overall health. Whether it’s supplying oxygenated blood, serving as a landmark in surgical procedures, or being evaluated through medical imaging, the hepatic artery is a key player in maintaining liver vitality.


In conclusion, the hepatic artery plays a crucial role in supplying oxygen-rich blood to the liver. It is fascinating to uncover the many surprising facts about this vital blood vessel. From its unique anatomy to its function in maintaining liver health, the hepatic artery showcases the intricate marvels of the human body. By understanding these facts, we can appreciate the significance of the hepatic artery and its impact on our overall well-being.


Q: How does the hepatic artery differ from other arteries in the body?
A: The hepatic artery is unique because it carries oxygenated blood to the liver, while most other arteries in the body typically transport oxygenated blood away from the heart to various organs and tissues.Q: Can the hepatic artery become blocked or narrowed?
A: Yes, the hepatic artery can experience blockages or narrowing, causing reduced blood flow to the liver. This condition is known as hepatic artery stenosis and may require medical intervention to restore blood flow.Q: What happens if the hepatic artery is compromised?
A: A compromised hepatic artery can lead to liver damage, as the liver cells rely on a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Without adequate blood flow, the liver’s functionality may be affected.Q: Can the hepatic artery carry diseases or infections to the liver?
A: In rare cases, infections or diseases can spread through the bloodstream and reach the liver via the hepatic artery. However, the liver has mechanisms to combat such infections, and medical intervention is often necessary to treat these conditions effectively.Q: Can the hepatic artery regenerate if damaged?
A: Yes, the hepatic artery, like other blood vessels, has the ability to regenerate and repair itself to some extent. However, severe damage may require medical intervention and potential surgical procedures to restore normal blood flow.Q: What are some common procedures involving the hepatic artery?
A: The hepatic artery is often involved in medical procedures such as liver transplants, hepatic artery embolization, and chemoembolization. These procedures aim to treat liver diseases or target liver tumors by blocking blood supply to specific areas.Q: Is the hepatic artery only present in humans?
A: No, the hepatic artery is found in various mammals, including humans. However, its anatomical structure may differ slightly among different species.Q: Can lifestyle choices affect the health of the hepatic artery?
A: Yes, several lifestyle choices, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a poor diet high in saturated fats, can have a negative impact on the health of the hepatic artery. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help promote optimal liver health and function.