The right hepatic artery usually branches from the common hepatic artery, however, there are cases showing anatomic variations. We present 41-year-old female patient with gallbladder cancer. In this case, the accessory right hepatic artery branched from the gastroduodenal artery, passed in front of the common bile duct and fed into the anterior segment of the liver. Cholecystectomy and resection of the extrahepatic bile duct with hepaticoenterostomy were performed successfully, preserving the accessory right hepatic artery. There are few reports presenting such an extremely rare anomaly of hepatic arteries in the English literature. Additionally, we herein present a review of the English literature regarding anatomic variations of right hepatic artery.
The patterns of the arterial blood supply to the liver have a tendency to show a certain variability [1, 2]. The right hepatic artery (RHA) usually arises from the common hepatic artery (CHA). One of the best known anatomic variations of hepatic arteries is a replaced or accessory RHA (aRHA) branching from the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) [3, 4]. However, we would like to present an extremely rare case of the aRHA branching from the gastroduodenal artery (GDA).
A 41-year-old woman was referred to us for gallbladder cancer. An ultrasonography and a contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a papillary hypervascular tumor, 25 × 21 mm, in the gallbladder (Fig. 1a, b). Three-dimensional (3D)-CT angiography showed that the aRHA branched from the GDA, whereas the cholecystic artery could not be detected (Fig. 1c, d). The aRHA passed in front of the common bile duct and fed into the anterior segment of the liver (Fig. 1e). The proper hepatic artery (PHA) was divided distally into the RHA and the middle hepatic artery (MHA). The left hepatic artery (LHA) was replaced on the left gastric artery (LGA). Pancreaticobiliary maljunction was not detected in this case.
The patient underwent operation, and laparotomy revealed that there was no invasion into the liver. The aRHA branching from the GDA was detected being consistent with the preoperative 3D-CT (Fig. 2a). The cholecystic artery was found, arising from the aRHA (Fig. 2b). Finally, the cholecystic artery was cut and resection of the gallbladder, and the extrahepatic bile duct with additional hepaticoenterostomy was performed, preserving the aRHA successfully (Fig. 2c). Whereas the effectiveness of lymphadenectomy for early-stage gallbladder cancer has been controversial , we performed resection of the extrahepatic bile duct for lymph node dissection. Macroscopically, the tumor was 2.5 × 2.0 cm (Fig. 2d). Postoperative pathological analysis diagnosed a papillary adenocarcinoma within the mucosal layer of the gallbladder.
Michels et al. published autopsy series about hepatic artery variants in 1966 , and in which, they indicated that aRHA uncommonly branches from GDA. We reviewed the English literature, in which 6588 cases were analyzed about anatomic variation of hepatic artery, including the presented case [3, 7–14] (Table 1). This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Kumamoto University Hospital. Among 6588 cases, 5696 cases (86.5 %) had standard anatomy. Replaced RHA and aRHA were the most commonly branched from SMA (853 cases, 12.9 %), followed by celiac axis (CA) (16 cases, 0.24 %), aorta (10 cases, 0.15 %), and CHA (6 cases, 0.09 %). Two cases had rare anomalies in which replaced RHA branched from LGA or renal artery. In addition, there were three cases (0.05 %) who had replaced RHA branched from GDA. Hogendorf et al. reported an autopsy case of aRHA branched from GDA . However, to our best knowledge, the presented case is the first report in which aRHA branched from GDA was detected preoperatively.
In this case, the successful outcome of the operation was made possible by identifying the aRHA preoperatively. The aRHA should be preserved because it fed the anterior segment of the liver. In addition to the abnormal aRHA, this case had a replaced LHA which the use of the preoperative 3D-CT angiography helped to establish beforehand. We believe that this extremely rare arterial pattern should be known by surgeons.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
accessory right hepatic artery
common hepatic artery
left gastric artery
left hepatic artery
middle hepatic artery
proper hepatic artery
superior mesenteric artery
Panagouli E, Venieratos D, Lolis E, Skandalakis P. Variations in the anatomy of the celiac trunk: a systematic review and clinical implications. Ann Anat. 2013;195:501–11.
Koops A, Wojciechowski B, Broering DC, Adam G, Krupski-Berdien G. Anatomic variations of the hepatic arteries in 604 selective celiac and superior mesenteric angiographies. Surg Radiol Anat. 2004;26:239–44.
López-Andújar R, Moya A, Montalvá E, Berenguer M, De Juan M, San Juan F, et al. Lessons learned from anatomic variants of the hepatic artery in 1,081 transplanted livers. Liver Transpl. 2007;13:1401–4.
Winston CB, Lee NA, Jarnagin WR, Teitcher J, DeMatteo RP, Fong Y, et al. CT angiography for delineation of celiac and superior mesenteric artery variants in patients undergoing hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007;189:W13–9.
Hogendorf P, Topol M. Variations of the hepatobiliary vasculature including coexistence of accessory right hepatic artery with unusually arising double cystic arteries: case report and literature review. Anat Sci Int. 2014;89:195–8.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
KY carried out the acquisition of data and drafted the manuscript. DH was involved in drafting the manuscript. IR carried out the acquisition of data. HO, AC, TB, and HB have given final approval of the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Rights and permissions
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.