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Transesophageal Echocardiography

Pronounced: Trans-e-sohf-ah-GE-al Eck-o-car-de-O-gra-fee

 

Definition

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:

  • Enlarged heart
  • Thickening of the heart walls
  • Heart valve malfunction
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Other conditions

Abnormal Heart Walls

Heart wall disease

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

 

Possible Complications    TOP

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding or damage to the mouth, throat, or esophagus

You may be at higher risk for complications if you:

 

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

  • Avoid alcohol for several days before the procedure. Alcohol may interfere with the type of sedative used.
  • Do not eat or drink for 4-8 hours before the procedure.
  • Arrange to have someone give you a ride home after the procedure.

Anesthesia

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

15-30 minutes

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 these occur:

  • Sore throat does not subside or worsens
  • Pain in the throat or chest develops
  • Difficulty breathing

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

Radiology Info—Radiologic Society of North America
https://www.radiologyinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://www.heartandstroke.ca

Mount Sinai Hospital
https://www.mountsinai.on.ca

REFERENCES:

General ultrasound. Radiology Info—Radiologic Society of North America website Radiology Info website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=genus. Updated May 30, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2018.

Hilberath JN, Oakes DA, Shernan SK, Bulwer BE, D'Ambra MN, Eltzschig HK. Safety of transesophageal echocardiography. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2010;23(11):1115-1127.

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 13, 2017. Accessed March 2, 2018.



Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 5/2/2014

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