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Superior Epigastric Artery
Cardiovascular System

Superior Epigastric Artery

Arteria epigastrica superior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Internal thoracic artery.

Course: Descends within rectus sheath.

Branches: None.

Supplied Structures: Anterior abdominal wall and diaphragm.

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The superior epigastric artery arises from the terminal bifurcation of the internal thoracic artery at the level of the sixth costal cartilage.


The superior epigastric artery travels inferiorly, posterior to the costal cartilages, and enters the abdomen via the gaps in between the muscular attachments of the diaphragm to the costal margin and the xiphoid process.

The artery then enters the rectus sheath and continues inferiorly where it anastomoses with the inferior epigastric arteries around the level of the umbilicus.


During its descent, the superior epigastric artery gives rise to several small unnamed muscular and cutaneous branches.

Supplied Structures

The superior epigastric artery supplies the upper anterior abdominal wall and to a small portion of the anterior diaphragm.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Superior Epigastric Artery

ScienceDirect image

Branches of the superior epigastric artery that arise in the upper abdomen anastomose with branches of the inferior epigastric artery at the umbilicus.

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