What is the definition of Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

Plummer-Vinson syndrome is a condition that can occur 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).

What are the alternative names for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

Paterson-Kelly syndrome; Sideropenic dysphagia; Esophageal web

What are the causes for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

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.

What are the symptoms for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness

What are the current treatments for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

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.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

People with this condition generally respond to treatment.

What are the possible complications for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

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.

When should I contact a medical professional for Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

Call your provider if:

  • Food gets stuck after you swallow it
  • You have severe fatigue and weakness

How do I prevent Plummer-Vinson Syndrome?

Getting enough iron in your diet may prevent this disorder.

Esophagus

REFERENCES

Kavitt RT, Vaezi MF. Diseases of the esophagus. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 69.

Patel NC, Ramirez FC. Esophageal tumors. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 47.

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.

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