Transesophageal Echocardiogram

What is it?

  • A transesophageal (trans-eh-sof-uh-g-ull) echocardiogram (eh-ko-kar-d-o-gram) is a test to check for problems inside and around your heart. It can also check for problems in the veins and arteries near your heart. It is also called a"TEE" or transesophageal echocardiography (eh-ko-kar-d-ah-gruh-fee). TEE is very much like a regular (transthoracic) (trans-thor-a-sik) echocardiogram (TTE). A TTE uses an ultrasound probe on the outside of your chest to see your heart. TEE is more accurate and can be used when problems with the chest make TTE hard to do.

  • TEE sends harmless sound waves to the heart through a tube put down your throat. Parts of the heart like the walls, valves, muscles, and blood vessels send echoes back to the machine. The motion of the echoes is traced on a machine and recorded on film. This recording tells caregivers about how your heart looks and works.

Why do I need a TEE?:

  • There are many reasons why you may need a TEE. Some of these reasons are listed below.

    • To look for endocarditis (end-o-kar-di-tis),(infection in the heart).

    • To look for blood clots in the heart.

    • TEE may be used during heart surgery to help guide the procedure.

    • To see how the valves (doors) between the chambers (rooms) inside your heart are opening and closing.

    • To look for problems in the veins and arteries near your heart.

    • To check for leaking heart valves or to see how artificial heart valves are doing.

    • To check for blood around your heart.

    • To see how well your heart is working

  • Other reasons your doctor may order a TEE are as follows:

    • You have large bandages on your chest.

    • You are hooked to a ventilator (breathing machine).

    • You are overweight.

    • A regular echocardiogram is not clear.

What happens during a TEE?:

  • Caregivers will give you medicine to help you relax. You will be awake and able to answer questions. You will be hooked to a heart monitor for this test. Your caregivers will watch you carefully during the procedure.

  • TEE looks at your heart from different directions than a regular echocardiogram. Sound waves are sent through your throat from behind your heart. Some heart problems are too small to be seen on a regular echocardiogram, but can be seen on a TEE. Sometimes TEE is done with regular echocardiogram.

  • You may be given medicine that causes your heart to work harder during the TEE. You will get this medicine through an IV. An IV is a tube placed in your vein for giving medicine or liquids. Your caregiver will see how your heart works after the medicine is given.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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