Esophageal web

Esophageal web
Esophageal web
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 Q39.4
DiseasesDB 31503
eMedicine med/3413

Esophageal webs are thin membranes located in the middle or upper esophagus.


Its main symptoms are pain and difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).

Esophageal webs are thin (2-3mm) membranes of normal esophageal tissue consisting of mucosa and submucosa. They can be congenital or acquired. Congenital webs commonly appear in the middle and inferior third of the esophagus, and they are more likely to be circumferential with a central or eccentric orifice. Acquired webs are much more common than congenital webs and typically appear in the cervical area (postcricoid).

Clinical symptoms of this condition are selective (solid more than liquids) dysphagia, thoracic pain, nasopharyngeal reflux, aspiration, perforation and food impaction (the last two are very rare).

Causes and associated conditions

They are mainly observed in the Plummer-Vinson syndrome,[1] which is associated with chronic iron deficiency anemia.

Esophageal webs are associated with bullous diseases (such as epidermolysis bullosa, pemphigus, and bullous pemphigoid), with graft versus host disease involving the esophagus, and with celiac disease.

Esophageal webs are more common in white individuals and in women (with a ratio 2:1). The literature describes relations between these webs and Plummer-Vinson Syndrome, bullous dermatologic disorders, inlet patch, graft-versus-host disease and celiac disease. The postulated mechanisms are sideropenic anemia (mechanism unknown) or some interference of the immune system. Esophageal webs can be ruptured during upper endoscopy.


  1. ^ Okamura H, Tsutsumi S, Inaki S, Mori T (September 1988). "Esophageal web in Plummer-Vinson syndrome". The Laryngoscope 98 (9): 994–8. doi:10.1288/00005537-198809000-00014. PMID 3412097. 

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