Plummer-Vinson Syndrome: Dermatological Features

  • Liam Zakko
  • Justin Finch
  • Marti J. Rothe
  • Jane M. Grant-Kels


Clinical signs and features include:

Classic triad of dysphagia, iron deficiency anemia (symptoms of this often predominate), upper esophageal webs

More common in Caucasians

Incidence decreases with improved nutrition

Typically presents in women in the fourth to seventh decades of life

Skin findings related to iron deficiency; most common is koilonychia—nails that flatten and thin and then eventually form a spoon shape

Pathogenesis of this disease is unclear but hypotheses include:

Plummer-Vinson Syndrome’s etiology is unclear; clearly iron deficiency is important but it is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause the syndrome


Iron Deficiency Iron Deficiency Anemia Deficiency Anemia Lichen Planus Seventh Decade 
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  1. 1.
    Novacek G. Plummer-Vinson syndrome. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2006;1:36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baron R, Darber RPR, Hanske E, et al. A text atlas of nail disorders: techniques, investigation, and diagnosis. 3rd ed. London: Martin Dunitz/Taylor & Francis; 2003. p. 23–7.  Chapter 2section 2, Koilonychia. Available at Accessed June 5, 2012.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liam Zakko
    • 1
  • Justin Finch
    • 2
  • Marti J. Rothe
    • 2
  • Jane M. Grant-Kels
    • 2
  1. 1.Yale Department of Internal MedicineYale New Haven HospitalNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA

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