Pulmonary vascular anatomy & anatomical variants

Asha Kandathil, Murthy Chamarthy


The vessels supplying the lungs include the pulmonary arteries, pulmonary veins, and bronchial arteries. The segmental and sub segmental pulmonary arteries parallel the bronchi and are named according to the bronchopulmonary segments they supply. There are however considerable anatomic variations, particularly in the upper lobes with variations in number or presence of accessory arteries from adjacent segments. The subsegmental pulmonary vein branches, run within interlobular septa and do not parallel the segmental or sub segmental pulmonary artery branches and bronchi. They converge to form right and left superior and inferior pulmonary veins which drain into the left atrium. Knowledge of normal and variant anatomy on cross-sectional and angiographic images is essential for accurate diagnosis of vascular pathology and aids planning of interventional procedures.