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TransEsophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is an echo test in which the ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument. The TEE test provides a close look at the heart’s valves and chambers, without interference from the ribs or lungs. TEE is often used when your doctor wants a closer look at your heart.

Before the test – When this test is recommended, please tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as a hiatal hernia, problems swallowing, or cancer. You should not drive until the day after the test

Why is this Test Performed?

The test is used to assess the overall function of your heart’s valves and chambers; determine the presence of many types of heart disease, such as valve disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis, cardiac masses and congenital heart disease; evaluate the effectiveness of valve surgery and evaluate abnormalities of the left atrium.

Can I Eat or Drink on the Day of the Test?

  • DO NOT eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the test. Water is OK up to 2 hours before the test
  • If you must take medication before the test, take it only with a small sip of water

What Happens During the Test?

  • Before the test, the doctor will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. You will have the opportunity to ask questions
  • You will be given a hospital gown to wear
  • You will be given a solution to gargle that will numb your throat. The sonographer will spray an anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) at the back of your throat
  • The doctor will put medications into your IV to help you relax. You may feel drowsy
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side on an exam table
  • The doctor will insert a thin, lubricated endoscope into your mouth, down your throat and into your esophagus. This part of the test lasts a few seconds and may be uncomfortable. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing. You may be asked to swallow at certain times to help pass the endoscope
  • Once the probe is in position, pictures of the heart are obtained at various angles (you will not feel this part of the test)

How Will I Feel During the Test?

Because of the sedative, you may not be entirely awake for the test. We will keep you as comfortable as possible during the test. Tell the health care team if you feel uncomfortable at any time during the test. You may feel a temporary soreness or numbness in your throat after the test.

How Do I Get the Results of my Test?

Call your physician for test results

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