Variations in the Configuration of the Celiac Trunk Among South Africans: Clinical Relevance

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Diana Pillay; Shaun Dieter Nischk & Robert Ndou


The celiac trunk is the first major unpaired branch of the abdominal aorta found at the twelfth vertebral level (T12). It gives off branches supplying the spleen, liver and the stomach. However, the branching patterns of the celiac trunk tend to vary by population throughout the world. We sought to investigate the branching patterns of the celiac trunk in a South African Caucasian sample. The celiac trunk was assessed by visual observation in 66 dissected bodies comprised of both males (n= 30) and females (n=36). These samples were obtained at the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The celiac trunk arose directly from the abdominal aorta in all cases, with none connected to the superior mesenteric artery. We observed celiac trunk trifurcation in 84.84 % of the sample, although a celiac trunk with four branches was observed in 10.61 %. Bifurcation into the common hepatic and splenic arteries forming a hepatosplenic trunk (2 females) or into the left gastric artery and splenic artery forming a splenogastric trunk (1 male) was also observed. The results are largely comparable with other studies in Caucasians, showing a high rate of celiac trunk trifurcation (above 75 %). Our sample exhibited fewer variations than reported in previous studies worldwide. Therefore, a larger study with more samples may be required in the future to ascertain all the existing celiac trunk branching patterns in the South African Caucasian population.

KEY WORDS: Celiac trunk; Splenogastric; Hepatosplenic; Abdominal aorta; Superior mesenteric.

How to cite this article

PILLAY, D.; NISCHK, S. D. & NDOU, R. Variations in the configuration of the celiac trunk among South Africans: Clinical relevance. Int. J. Morphol., 38(6):1662-1667, 2020.