Pronounced: Trans-e-sohf-ah-GE-al Eck-o-car-de-O-gra-fee
by Diana Kohnle
Echocardiography uses sound waves to make images of the heart. In transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), the ultrasound probe is passed down the throat and in to the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach. The esophagus sits very close to the heart. This method allows for clearer images of the heart than other methods.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
This test is done to look for problems of the heart, including:
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
You may be at higher risk for complications if you:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
You will be given a mild sedative through an IV. You will be sleepy throughout the procedure. A topical anesthetic may also be applied to the back of the throat. This will numb the throat.
Description of the Procedure TOP
You will be asked to lie on your side in a hospital gown. The ultrasound probe will be slid down your throat and into the esophagus until it is near the heart. The device will create active images of the heart. When the imaging is done, the probe will be taken out.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
Will It Hurt? TOP
There may be some mild discomfort during the procedure. Most people sleep through the procedure and remember very little of it. Your throat may be sore for a few days.
Post-procedure Care TOP
You will need a ride home from the procedure. Do not eat or drink until the numbness in your throat wears off. This will keep you from inhaling food or drink into the lungs.
Talk to your doctor about the results of the test.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Agency of Canada
Hilberath JN, Oakes DA, et al. Safety of transesophageal echocardiography. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2010;23(11):1115-1127.
Niedermeyer J, Daniel WG. Value of transesophageal echocardiography in diagnosis of diseases of native heart valves. Herz. 1993;18(6):329-340.
Pascoe RD, Oh JK, et al. Diagnosis of sinus venosus atrial septal defect with transesophageal echocardiography. Circulation. 1996;94:1049-1055.
Transesophageal echocardiography. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 20, 2012. Accessed May 20, 2013.
Ultrasound (sonography). Radiologic Society of North America Radiology Info website Radiology Info website. Available at:
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Updated April 19, 2013. Accessed May 20, 2013.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 5/2/2014
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