The liver is a large wedge-shaped structure found in the upper right to middle abdomen. It performs many functions including metabolic regulation, breakdown and detoxification of the blood, storage of essential nutrients and energy supplies, and synthesis of; bile, proteins, hormones, and amino acids. To perform all these functions the liver needs a rich supply of arterial blood to help fuel it.
The proper hepatic artery, a branch of the celiac trunk, supplies all oxygenated blood to the liver. At the porta hepatis, the hepatic artery splits into right and left branches. Roughly speaking, the right hepatic artery supplies most of the right lobe of the liver and the caudate lobe. Similarly, the left hepatic artery supplies the quadrate lobe and left lobe of the liver. Variation in vascular supply to the caudate lobe, quadrate lobe, and segment IV are common. As vasculature penetrates the liver, the hepatic arteries bifurcate until they terminate at the level of the hepatic lobule. Here hepatic arterial blood flows through the sinusoids to the hepatic veins.
You yourself can follow the path of blood flow from the heart to the liver with the arterial tracing function in Complete Anatomy. Follow the steps below with not only the arteries of the liver but all blood supply in the body.
⒈ Set your model up with the liver and hepatic arteries. You can even fade the liver to see the branching that happens inside. From there select the proper hepatic artery. You will see in the functions bar on the left-hand side an icon for ‘Origin Path’. Click this button.
⒉ From here the model will highlight the origin path of the selected artery. You can even view it in an isolated view that includes the heart by clicking on ‘Isolate Origin’.
⒊ You will then view the isolated origin of the arterial path and can also select other arteries that appear on the screen to identify them by name.
⒋ Alternatively, if you exit the isolated mode and return to the function bar for the proper hepatic artery, after ‘Origin Path’ you will see ‘Branches’. Go ahead and select this.
⒌ Now the branches of the proper hepatic artery are highlighted. These too can be viewed in an isolated mode by selecting ‘Isolate Branches’.
⒍ You are then able to view the branches in an isolated mode that includes some of the ribs for context. From here you can select each branch and have the name identified to the left of the screen. Be sure to check this function out on any of the arteries within Complete Anatomy!