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Esophageal Web

(Plummer-Vinson Syndrome; Paterson-Kelly Syndrome; Sideropenic Dysphagia)

By Kristle Lee Lynch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania

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An esophageal web is a thin mucosal membrane that grows across the lumen and causes dysphagia.

Rarely, webs develop in patients with untreated severe iron deficiency anemia; they develop even more rarely in patients without anemia. Webs usually occur in the upper esophagus, causing dysphagia for solids. They are best diagnosed by barium swallow.

Webs resolve with treatment of the anemia but can be easily ruptured during esophagoscopy.

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