Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Overview

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart, its chambers and blood vessels. As a type of echocardiographic exam, the goal of TEE is to show the size and shape of the heart with indications as to how well the valves and chambers of the heart are functioning.

The test is generally quite safe as the risk for complications are very low.

Why TEE?

TEE is an effective tool that helps doctors diagnose diseases of the heart and blood vessels in adults and children.

In addition, TEE is also used to guide the physician in cardiac catheterization, surgery preparation, and post-op evaluation of the patient.

What to Expect

You will be instructed not to eat for at least six hours prior to your exam. Once you’ve arrived for your test, you’ll be given medication as a relaxant. In addition, your throat will be sprayed with numbing agent to diminish your gag reflex. If you are undergoing cardiac surgery, the TEE probe will be placed after you are asleep with anesthesia.

TEE involves a flexible tube with an imaging device called a transducer on the tip. Your doctor will guide the tube down your throat and into your esophagus. The transducer sends sound waves to the heart. Those waves bounce of the heart, back to the device, which takes the data to create a computerized image on a video monitor. Although painless, you may experience mild discomfort during the exam. TEE takes about 90 minutes to complete. Please arrange for someone to drive you home after the test as you will be drowsy.

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