Plummer-Vinson syndromePaterson-Kelly syndrome; Sideropenic dysphagia; Esophageal web
Plummer-Vinson syndrome is a condition that can occurs in people with long-term (chronic) iron deficiency anemia . People with this condition have problems swallowing due to small, thin growths of tissue that partially block the upper food pipe (esophagus).
Iron deficiency anemia
Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. There are man...
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.
Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will do an exam to look for abnormal areas on your skin and nails.
You may have an upper GI series or upper endoscopy to look for abnormal tissue in the food pipe. You may have tests to look for anemia or iron deficiency.
Upper GI series
An upper GI and small bowel series is a set of x-rays taken to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Barium enema is a related test....
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a test to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
Taking iron supplements may improve the swallowing problems.
If supplements do not help, the web of tissue can be widened during upper endoscopy. This will allow you to swallow food normally.
People with this condition generally respond to treatment.
Devices used to stretch the esophagus (dilators) may cause a tear. This can lead to bleeding.
Plummer-Vinson syndrome has been linked to esophageal cancer .
Esophageal cancer is cancer that starts in the esophagus. This is the tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if:
- Food gets stuck after you swallow it
- You have severe fatigue and weakness
Getting enough iron in your diet may prevent this disorder.
Kavitt RT, Vaezi MF. Diseases of the esophagus. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery . 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 69.
Rustgi AK. Neoplasms of the esophagus and stomach. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine . 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 192.
Esophagus and stomach anatomy - illustration
Food is swallowed and passes through the esophagus to the stomach, where the majority of digestion takes place.
Esophagus and stomach anatomy
Review Date: 12/1/2016
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.