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Inferior phrenic arteries

The inferior phrenic arteries are small vessels that may have various sites of origin. The purpose of these two arteries is to deliver blood to the diaphragm.

The two inferior phrenic arteries may originate at the aorta, (although both will not generally begin here), the celiac artery, or from a trunk that sprouts from the celiac artery or aorta. One of the inferior phrenic arteries may also arise from the renal arteries.

The inferior phrenic arteries separate across the crura of the diaphragm, the muscular bundles that attach the diaphragm to the lumbar spine. The arteries run upward and laterally on the underside of the crura.

The left artery passes behind the esophagus, while the right artery passes behind the inferior vena cava.

In the back of the central tendon (which forms the top of the diaphragm), the left and right inferior phrenic arteries divide again into medial and the lateral branches. These arteries also branch into the superior suprarenal braches and the suprarenal gland. Small branches from these arteries may reach the spleen and liver.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Inferior phrenic arteries

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