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Iron deficiency anemia and Plummer–Vinson syndrome: current insights

Authors Goel A, Bakshi SS, Soni N, Chhavi N

Received 5 June 2017

Accepted for publication 25 September 2017

Published 19 October 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 175—184


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth

Amit Goel,1 Satvinder Singh Bakshi,2 Neetu Soni,3 Nanda Chhavi4

1Department of Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India; 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India; 3Department of Radiodiagnosis, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India; 4Department of Pediatrics, Era’s Lucknow Medical College, Lucknow, India

Abstract: Plummer–Vinson syndrome (PVS), a rare clinical condition, is characterized by a triad of dysphagia, iron deficiency anemia and esophageal web in the post-cricoid region. It was first described over a century ago. However, literature on this condition remains scanty, and its prevalence appears to be declining worldwide, possibly due to improvements in nutrition over time. The condition has been reported most commonly in thin-built, middle-aged, white women. The esophageal webs in PVS are thin mucosal folds, which are best seen either in lateral views at barium swallow or at esophagoscopy. These are usually semilunar or crescentic, being located most often along the anterior esophageal wall, but can be concentric. The exact cause and pathogenesis of PVS remain unclear, though iron and other nutritional deficiencies, genetic predisposition and autoimmunity have all been implicated in formation of the webs. Treatment includes correction of iron deficiency and endoscopic dilation of the esophageal webs to relieve dysphagia. PVS is associated with an increased risk of hypopharyngeal and esophageal malignancies. Correction of iron deficiency may arrest and reverse the mucosal changes and possibly reduces this risk.

Keywords: Plummer–Vinson syndrome, Paterson–Brown–Kelly syndrome, esophageal web, dysphagia, iron deficiency anemia

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