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Transesophogeal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a test similar to standard echocardiography where high-frequency sound waves are used to produce an image of the heart. The difference with this test is that the sound waves travel through a tube-like device put into the mouth and passed down the throat into the esophagus. The TEE provides greater detail about the size and movement of the heart muscle, the condition of the aorta and how the heart valves are working. The TEE is used when physicians cannot get a clear picture of the heart using standard echocardiography.

About the procedure:

The patient should not eat at least 4 hours before the test. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking because they may also need to be stopped before the test.

Before the procedure, the staff will spray the patient's throat with an anesthetic to numb it and the patient will typically get an IV line to administer a mild sedative. The staff will place metal disks, called electrodes, on the patient's chest, which connect to an electrocardiogram machine to monitor the heart rhythm during the test. Then a small, flexible tube will be placed in the throat and the cardiologist will ask the patient to swallow as he or she moves the tube gently down the throat. The tube has a transducer on the end of it, which takes pictures of the heart.

After the test, the tube and IV line are removed. The patient may feel a little sleepy until the sedative wears off. The patient may also experience a sore throat that typically goes away in a day or so.

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