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.
Paterson-Kelly syndrome; Sideropenic dysphagia; Esophageal web
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.
Call your health care provider if food gets stuck after you swallow it or if you have severe fatigue and weakness.
Good nutrition with enough iron may prevent this disorder.
Long JD, Orlando RC. Anatomy, histology, embryology, and developmental anomalies of the esophagus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 41.
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.