Merck Manual

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Esophageal Webs

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

By

Kristle Lee Lynch

, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2024
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Topic Resources

Webs in the upper esophagus usually make swallowing solids difficult.

A barium swallow X-Ray Studies of the Digestive Tract X-rays often are used to evaluate digestive problems. Standard x-rays ( plain x-rays) can show some blockages or paralysis of the digestive tract, or abnormal air patterns in the abdominal cavity... read more x-ray is usually the best procedure with which to diagnose the problem. In this procedure, people are given barium in a liquid before x-rays are taken. The barium outlines the esophagus, making abnormalities easier to see.

Once the iron deficiency has been treated, the web usually disappears. If not, a doctor can treat it using a dilator or an endoscope.

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