Inferior phrenic artery

The inferior phrenic arteries (IPAs) are paired branches of the abdominal aorta/celiac trunk supplying the diaphragm. Their importance lies with the fact that the right inferior phrenic artery is the most common extrahepatic arterial supply of a hepatocellular carcinoma.


  • origin: abdominal aorta or celiac trunk at the level of T12-L2
  • course: ascends anterolateral to the diaphragmatic crus, near the medial border of the adrenal gland, on the inferior surface of the diaphragm. The left inferior phrenic artery passes posteriorly to the esophagus then runs anteriorly on the left side of the esophageal hiatus. The right inferior phrenic artery passes posterior to the inferior vena cava and then runs anteriorly on the right side of the vena caval foramen. Each divides into medial and lateral branches near the posterior border of the central tendon of the diaphragm.
  • branches:
  • supply: diaphragm, adrenal glandinferior vena cava, esophagus, liver (capsule and segments 2, 3, 7, and bare area)

Variant anatomy

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