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Plummer-Vinson Syndrome

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome Causes

Although genetic factors and nutritional deficiencies are suspected to have a role in the development of the disorder, the cause is still not known.

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome Definition

The Plummer-Vinson syndrome is associated with severe, long-term iron deficiency anemia that causes difficulty in swallowing because of growing web-like tissue membranes in the throat. The disorder is also referred to as Paterson-Brown-Kelly syndrome or sideropenic dysphagia.

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome Diagnosis

Doctors recommend a serial contrasted gastrointestinal radiography or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to show the web in the esophagus. Patients may also undergo blood tests to check for a hypochromic microcytic anemia that is consistent with an iron-deficiency anemia. A sample of the affected mucosa under biopsy shows epithelial atrophy and submucosal chronic inflammation. It may also reveal the presence of epithelial atypia or dysplasia.

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome Symptoms and Signs

Patients suffer from a burning sensation of the tongue and oral mucosa, and atrophy of lingual papillae that produces a smooth, shiny red tongue dorsum. They also have swallowing difficulty.

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome Treatment

Treatment is focused in the patient's iron-deficiency anemia to improve dysphagia and pain. Patients need to receive iron supplementation in their diet. Thus, good nutrition combined with adequate iron intake is recommended to also prevent the disorder. Dilation of the web upper endoscopy to allow normal swallowing and passage of food may cause perforation of the esophagus. It may be one of the factors that develop squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.

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