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What Is the Splenic Artery?

One branch of the splenic artery supplies the upper greater curvature of the stomach.
The splenic artery connects the spleen and the heart, and supplies blood to the pancreas.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2014
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The splenic artery is an artery which supplies blood to the spleen, along with parts of the stomach and pancreas. This artery is one of the major arteries in the abdomen, and a critical part of the complex system of arteries which supplies blood to the internal organs. Aneurysm of the splenic artery can occur in some patients, with such events being relatively rare. If an aneurysm does happen, surgery is needed to correct the problem before the patient experiences severe complications.

This artery starts at the celiac trunk, a part of the abdominal aorta. The celiac trunk can be found just below the diaphragm. The splenic artery splits into three branches soon after exiting the celiac trunk, with one branch supplying the upper greater curvature of the stomach, while another branch supports the middle part of the greater curvature of the stomach, and the third branch supplies blood to the pancreas and spleen. The complementary vein to this artery, known as the splenic vein, drains into the portal vein.

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As with other arteries in the body, the purpose of the splenic artery is to supply freshly oxygenated blood to the tissue it connects with, bathing the cells in the tissue in the oxygen they need to function. If the flow of blood through the splenic artery is impeded, as may happen as a result of a blood clot or an aneurysm, tissue death can occur as cells die from lack of oxygen. The complementary splenic vein drains the depleted blood away so that it can be carried up to the heart and lungs to pick up a fresh payload of oxygen.

If an aneurysm or rupture occurs in this artery, procedures such as splenic artery embolization can be used to stabilize the structure and perform repairs. A common cause of rupture is several physical trauma, with aneurysms being more common among pregnant women. An untreated aneurysm can lead to death for the patient. Surgical procedures to repair the splenic artery can be carried out by a vascular surgeon who is experienced in conducting surgery on the blood vessels.

Some people may refer to the splenic artery by an outdated term, “lienal artery.” Diagrams of this artery and the connecting systems can be found in many medical textbooks and also through image searches on a search engine. Such drawings include a clear visualization of all of the branches of this anatomical structure, along with the interconnecting splenic vein.

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sravis
Post 5

Does anyone know what the prognosis is for living without a celiac artery and spleen? I lost both due to an aneurysm in the celiac artery. My digestive tract seems to be healing but very slowly and I still have stomach pain. Does anyone know if this is the best I can expect or will life return to normal. It has been almost one year.

jcraig
Post 4

@jmc88 - You are absolutely correct. The Spleen is a vital organ as far as maintaining functions of the body one hundred percent goes.

Because of the importance of the spleen efforts are being taken to see if part of the spleen can be saved for someone that has to have it removed.

It has been proven that people who have their spleen removed lose effectiveness of their immune system and they are more susceptible to ailments like pneumonia as well as bacterial infections.

As a matter of fact they did various studies on soldiers in World War Two that had their spleens removed after being shot and most of them had a shorter life span than a normal male and all contracted pneumonia a lot easier than normal.

jmc88
Post 3

@Izzy78 - You do not have to be a football player to rupture your spleen and you do not even have to rupture your spleen in order to have surgery on it.

Sometimes people simply have problems with their spleens and they are forced to have them removed to to their spleen not functioning properly. This is not unusual and is actually the most common way for a person to have surgery on their spleen or to even have it entirely removed.

Although someone can still live without a spleen it is not good because the spleen does serve various bodily functions and it has been proven that certain disease and bacteria rates go up in people that do not have spleens.

Izzy78
Post 2

@JimmyT - It could have very well involved a problem with the splenic artery, but these types of problems are actually fairly rare and not exactly usually the cause for surgery of the spleen.

Most of the time when someone has surgery on their spleen it is due to it being ruptured in some way and does not usually deal with surgery on the Splenic Artery.

Although these types of surgeries do happen and the people you know may have very well have had surgery on the Splenic Artery, they probably did not and had in fact ruptured their spleen in some way to the point that it required surgery.

JimmyT
Post 1

A question I have concerning the splenic artery is whether or not this is the major cause for a ruptured spleen?

I know many people that have had a ruptured spleen, and although some of them were athletes, and injured their spleens on the football field by getting hit hard, I know some people that just simply had a problem with their spleen that had nothing to do with getting hit.

Most of the time with these people it simply became an internal problem and they had to have surgery to correct it, but I never knew if it had to do with the Splenic Artery or not.

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