The gastroduodenal artery is a blood vessel that arises from the common hepatic artery. In some people, it originates from the left or right hepatic artery. It lies behind the duodenum, which is the initial section of the small intestine, and in front of the pancreas, near the common bile duct.
The gastroduodenal artery branches out to give rise to the retroduodenal artery. The artery functions by supplying oxygenated blood to the area where the stomach and duodenum connect. The artery plays a crucial role in the gastrointestinal system, because it provides important substances, such as nutrients and oxygen, to help maintain the function of the stomach and the small intestine. The artery also indirectly provides blood to the pancreas.
The pressure within the gastroduodenal artery is quite high, as it is with all other arteries. This makes any form of damage to the artery life-threatening, as blood can escape quickly enough to lead the person into hemorrhage and hypovolemic shock. The artery may also bleed as a result of peptic ulcer disease complications.