Anatomy of the Portal Vein System and Hepatic Vasculature

  • Masahiko Okudaira


According to the Gray’s Anatomy [1], the portal system includes all the veins draining the abdominal part of the digestive tube (excluding the lower anal canal but including the preterminal esophagus), the spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Blood is conveyed from these viscera by the portal vein to the liver, where it ramifies like an artery, and ends in the sinusoids from which the blood again converges to reach the inferior vena cava via the hepatic veins. The blood, therefore, passes through two sets of “exchange” vessels: (1) the capillaries of the digestive tube, spleen, pancreas and gallbladder, and (2) the hepatic sinusoids. In adults, the portal vein and its tributaries have no valves; in the fetus and for a short postnatal period valves are demonstrable in the tributaries, usually atrophying but occasionally persisting in degenerate form.


Portal Vein Hepatic Artery Hepatic Vein Lymph Vessel Left Hepatic Vein 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiko Okudaira
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, School of MedicineKitasato UniversitySagamihara, 228Japan

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