Ultrasound examination of the liver: Normal vascular anatomy

F. Draghi, G. L. Rapaccini, C. Fachinetti, N. de Matthaeis, S. Battaglia, T. Abbattista, P. Busilacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various treatments for liver diseases, including liver transplant (particularly partial liver resection from a living donor), treatment of liver tumors, and TIPS, require detailed knowledge of the complex vascular anatomy of the liver. The hepatic artery and portal vein provide the organ with a double blood supply whereas venous drainage is furnished by the hepatic veins. Multislice computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging provide undeniably excellent information on these structures. On ultrasound, the inferior vena cava, the openings of the hepatic veins, and the main branch of the portal vein can always be visualized, but intrasegmental vessels (portal, arterial, accessory hepatic venous branches) can be only partially depicted and in some cases not at all. In spite of its difficulty and limitations, hepatic sonography is frequently unavoidable, particularly in critically ill patients, and the results are essential for defining diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. For this reason, a thorough knowledge of the sonographic features of hepatic vascular anatomy is indispensable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ultrasound
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Hepatic artery
  • Hepatic veins
  • Portal vein
  • Sonography, liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Internal Medicine


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