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Medicine (MD/DO)
Esophageal Disorders
Plummer-Vinson Syndrome

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Plummer-Vinson Syndrome

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Plummer-Vinson Syndrome

Plumber-Vincent (van Gogh)
Plummer-Vinson Syndrome which is characterized by the triad of iron deficiency anemia, dysphagia due to esophageal webs and glossitis classically affects caucasian females aged 30-60. This syndrome must be recognized early because it is a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.

Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, occurs due to the development of esophageal webs. The dysphagia present in Plummer-Vinson syndrome is typically post-cricoid.

Esophageal Webs
Esophageal-sarcophagus Webs

Esophageal webs are thin membranes of submucosal and mucosal tissue which can protrude and obstruct the esophagus. This can lead to dysphagia.


Glossitis, or inflammation of the tongue, is seen in Plummer-Vinson syndrome, and is often related to nutritional deficiencies. Patients typically display a sore, inflamed tongue. The tongue can be described as "red and shiny," due to inflammation and loss of the lingual papillae.

Iron Deficiency Anemia
Broken Iron and Anemone

Patients with Plummer-Vinson syndrome also have iron-deficient anemia as part of the symptomatic triad. Iron-deficient anemia is a microcytic, hypochromic anemia which usually occurs due to bleeding, increased demand in pregnancy, or poor nutrition.

Squamous Cell Cancer of Esophagus
Square-mouse with Tumor-guy at Esophageal-sarcophagus

Patients with PVS display a higher risk of developing esophageal squamous cell cancer.


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