Plummer-Vinson syndrome

Alternative Names

Paterson-Kelly syndrome; Sideropenic dysphagia; Esophageal web

Definition of Plummer-Vinson syndrome

Plummer-Vinson syndrome is a condition that sometimes occur in people with long-term (chronic) iron deficiency anemia. People with this condition have difficulty swallowing due to small, thin growths of tissue that partially block the upper food pipe, or esophagus.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of Plummer-Vinson syndrome is unknown. Genetic factors and a lack of certain nutrients (nutritional deficiencies) may play a role. It is a rare disorder that can be linked to cancers of the esophagus and throat. It is more common in women.

Signs and tests

Some patients develop skin and nail abnormalities that the doctor can see during an examination.

Treatment

Patients with Plummer-Vinson syndrome should receive iron supplements. This may improve the swallowing difficulty.

Expectations (prognosis)

Patients generally respond to treatment.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/12/2010

Esophagus and stomach anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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