Plummer-Vinson Syndrome

By William Aird

Plummer-Vinson syndrome (PVS) is a VERY rare condition characterized by the triad of:

  • Dysphagia
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Esophageal webs.

It is named after Henry Stanley Plummer (1874–1936), an internist at Mayo Clinic, and Porter Paisley Vinson (1890–1959), a surgeon at the same institution. They published their findings in 1912 and 1919, respectively.

In the UK, PVS is known more commonly as the Paterson-Brown-Kelly syndrome, named after two two British laryngologists, Donald Ross Paterson (1863-1939) and Adam Brown-Kelly (1865-1941), who published their findings in 1919.

It is remarkable how the findings from these 4 papers have been conflated and misinterpreted over the yrs.

A carful reading of the original papers shows that Paterson and Brown-Kelly were far closer to a modern day description of PVS than were their American counterparts.