Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a test in which the heart can be seen and studied through the use of sound waves (ultrasound). In a regular (transthoracic) echocardiogram, these sound waves are obtained from a probe that is placed on the chest. The transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) uses a special probe that is positioned in the esophagus so that it is closer to the heart, thus it allows better examination of cardiovascular structures in specific situations.
Before the Test
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least four hours before your test, except for sips of water with any medications you normally take.
- If you are diabetic, please inform your doctor
During the Test
- Electrodes will be placed on your chest so that your heart tracing (ECG) can be recorded.
- While you are at rest, the technologist may move a probe, called a transducer, from place to place over your chest to obtain different images of your heart. This is the transthoracic approach.
- An intravenous (IV) line will be started in a vein in your arm. The doctor will give you medications through the IV line to help you relax and to help dry your saliva (your mouth may begin to feel dry after this).
- The doctor will spray an anesthetic in your throat to make it feel numb.
- You will be asked to swallow a flexible tube, inside of which is a special probe (transducer) that will help the doctor obtain images of your heart. This is the transesophageal echocardiogram.
- Your TEE will last about 30 to 60 minutes.
After Your Test
- You will remain in bed for one additional hour and your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be checked several times.
- You'll be asked not to eat or drink for one hour.
- You might be drowsy from the medication, so be sure to call for help the first time you get out of bed.
- You will remain in the lab until the medication has worn off.
- We suggest that you have someone drive you home.
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