uses sound waves to make images of the heart. In transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), the ultrasound probe is passed down the throat
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.
This test is done to look for problems of the heart, including: Enlarged heartThickening of the heart wallsHeart valve malfunctionInfectionBlood clotsOther conditions
Abnormal Heart Walls
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like: Difficulty breathingBleeding or damage to the
You may be at higher risk for complications if you: Have throat problems
to the throat
Have a history of
esophageal varicesHave strictures or narrowing of the esophagus
or severe respiratory disorders, such as
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 if any of the following occur: Sore throat does not subside or worsensPain in the throat or chest developsDifficulty breathing
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
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.
Pascoe RD, Oh JK, et al. Diagnosis of sinus venosus atrial septal defect with transesophageal echocardiography.
Transesophageal echocardiography. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Transesophageal-Echocardiography-TEE_UCM_441655_Article.jsp. Updated September 11, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.
Ultrasound (sonography). Radiologic Society of North America Radiology Info website Radiology Info website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=genus. Updated June 23, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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