Surgery Today

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 883–890 | Cite as

A new anatomical classification of the bronchial arteries based on the spatial relationships to the esophagus and the tracheobronchus

  • Ken Hayasaka
  • Hajime Ishida
  • Ryosuke Kimura
  • Tadashi Nishimaki
Original Article



To reveal the patterns of the mediastinal course of the bronchial arteries (BAs).


The BAs were dissected to determine the positional relationships of their mediastinal courses with the tracheobronchus and the esophagus in 72 adult cadavers.


The mediastinal courses of the 227 BAs found in this study were classified into 4 types. There were 61 and 163 BAs passing the right side (Type I) and the left side (Type II reaching dorsal surface (n = 98), or Type III reaching ventral surface (n = 65) of the tracheobronchus) of the esophagus, respectively. Three BAs originated from the subclavian artery (Type IV). All Type I BAs were right BAs, whereas 91.8% of the Type II BAs were left BAs. However, 43.1 and 56.9% of the Type III BAs were the right and left BAs, respectively.


The classification of the mediastinal course of the BAs determined by the spatial relationships to the tracheobronchus and the esophagus may be clinically useful, because each category of this classification can be determined during esophagectomy and indicates whether the BA is a right or left BA.


Bronchial artery Esophagectomy Anatomy 



The authors appreciate the contribution of the Deigo-Kai, voluntary body donation organization of University of the Ryukyus, for allowing the macro-anatomical study using the cadavers.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in association with this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Hayasaka
    • 1
  • Hajime Ishida
    • 2
  • Ryosuke Kimura
    • 2
  • Tadashi Nishimaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Digestive and General Surgery, Graduate School of MedicineUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Human Biology and Anatomy, Graduate School of MedicineUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan

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