The common hepatic artery is one of the final branches of the celiac artery. It supplies oxygen-rich blood to the liver, pylorus, pancreas, and duodenum. It runs on the right inside the lesser sac, a cavity near the middle of the abdomen, and enters the lesser omentum, a folded membrane that attaches the stomach to the liver. The artery then passes upward toward the porta hepatis, a deep groove in the back of the liver through which many neurovascular structures enter and leave the liver.
The common hepatic artery splits into the proper hepatic artery and the gastroduodenal artery. The proper hepatic artery enters the porta hepatis where it splits into the left and right hepatic arteries that supply the liver.
The gastroduodenal branch of the common hepatic artery passes behind the duodenum and divides into the right gastroepiploic artery and the superior pancreaticoduodenal artery. The right gastroepiploic artery runs along the curve of the stomach and connects with the left gastroepiploic artery. These arteries supply blood to the stomach and greater omentum, a folded membrane that attaches the stomach to the transverse colon. The right gastroepiploic artery is often used as a graft for coronary artery bypasses.
The superior pancreaticoduodenal artery divides into anterior and posterior branches that circle the head of the pancreas and connect with the inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery. These arteries supply blood to the pancreas and duodenum.
The right hepatic artery usually branches off the proper hepatic artery or the left hepatic artery but this varies in different people. The cystic artery originates from the right hepatic artery and supplies blood to the gallbladder.