Transesophegeal Echocardiogram (TEE)
A transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, is a test used to take detailed pictures of your heart. During TEE, a small ultrasound probe is passed through your mouth and into your throat (esophagus). Sound waves pass through the probe, letting your doctor see your heart.
Your doctor may order a transesophageal echocardiogram if a regular (chest) echocardiogram does not show enough detail. A TEE may also be ordered for patients who have:
- Congenital heart disease.
- Heart valves that have been replaced.
- Suspected blood clots in the heart.
- Had open-heart surgery.
If you have ever had problems with food getting stuck in your throat or have had bleeding from the esophagus or stomach, it is important to tell your doctor.
Preparing for a transesophageal echocardiogram
- If your test is scheduled before 2 p.m., do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. If you test is scheduled after 2 p.m., you mean eat or drink a light breakfast before 7 a.m. You may take your morning medications at 6 a.m.
- You will be unable to drive for eight hours after this procedure.
- Please bring a list of your current medications with you.
- An IV will be started for this procedure.
Before the test
- When you get to the procedure room, you will be asked to take out your dentures or partial plate, if you have them.
- An IV will be placed in your arm. Medicine will be given through your IV to help you relax.
- You will be hooked up to heart-rhythm, blood-oxygen and blood-pressure monitors.
During the test
- Your doctor will numb the back of your throat with a spray. You will be asked to lie on your left side. A small ultrasound probe will be placed into your mouth and down your throat. Pictures of your heart will be taken.
- The test takes about an hour, but the probe will be in place for less than 20 minutes.
After the test
- The back of your throat will be numb for a few hours.
- Wait at least one hour before you try to eat or drink anything. Sip a small amount of water to be sure that you can swallow without gagging.
- You may have a sore throat, but this should go away within a day. If your sore throat lasts for more than a day, call the doctor who did your procedure.
- Someone else must drive you home. You may not drive for eight hours after the test.
Transesophageal echocardiogram risks
TEE is a relatively safe procedure. There is a small risk of injury to the esophagus or stomach that could cause bleeding or infection.
To schedule an appointment, contact the location most convenient to you.