Plummer-Vinson syndrome

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Plummer Vinson syndrome is the formation of an oesophageal web above the aortic arch in association with concomitant iron deficiency in women.

Sometimes there may be chronic atrophic glossitis, koilonychia, angular stomatitis and achlorhydria. The main complaint is of dysphagia.

The condition is premalignant and is associated with the development of a carcinoma in the cricopharyngeal region. Initial treatment is by balloon dilatation at endoscopy and iron replacement medication. Once anaemia is corrected and a fuller diet can be taken orally, there is dramatic symptomatic improvement.

It is the only head and neck malignant condition occurring more often in women than in men. The developing carcinoma is radiosensitive.

Last reviewed 01/2018