Heart Ultrasound via Esophagus - TEE

This test creates moving images of the heart using a probe placed down the throat to the lower part of the esophagus.

This test creates moving images of the heart using a probe placed down the throat to the lower part of the esophagus.

An echocardiogram is a test that uses high frequency sound waves to create moving images of the heart muscle, heart valves and other structures of the heart.

  • The images are obtained using a special probe, which sends and receives ultrasound waves.
  • A transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) creates images by moving the probe over the chest.

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) creates images by placing the probe down the throat into the lower part of the esophagus. This area is close to the heart, so the images are clearer.

  • Once in the lower part of the esophagus the probe sends sound waves to the heart.
  • The sound waves are sent back to the probe and converted into images of the heart.
A TEE may be recommended if:
  • Images from a TTE are unclear
  • Better images are needed to make a diagnosis
  • You are obese or have bandages on your chest

A transesophageal echocardiogram can be done in a hospital or clinic where minor procedures are performed. Prior to the procedure, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners or aspirin
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.

You will probably be given a medicine to help make you sleepy and relaxed (a sedative). Your throat will also be numbed before the procedure.

  • You will not be allowed to drive for twelve to twenty-four hours after the test.
  • Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and help at home.

This care path's costs include the facility charges (the test or procedure), plus the physician charges (interpreting the test or performing the procedure). You may get separate bills for the facility and physician charges.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a TEE?

  • Is there any special preparation for the test? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • Why are you ordering this test? Will the test results change my treatment plan? If not, do I need the test?
  • Are there any special precautions I need to take after the test?
  • Why can't you perform a regular echocardiogram to get pictures of my heart?
  • What will you learn from this test?
  • When will I know the results of the TEE?
  • Can I go back to work on the day of the test?

After your procedure, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Heart Ultrasound via Esophagus - TEE
Esophageal Echo

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