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Transesophageal Echocardiogram

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 4, 2023.

What do I need to know about a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)?

A TEE is a procedure used to check for problems with your heart. It will also show any problems in the blood vessels near your heart. Sound waves are sent to the heart through a tube inserted into your throat. The sound waves show the structure and function of your heart through pictures on a monitor.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of the procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.
  • Tell your provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.

What will happen during the procedure?

  • Local anesthesia will be given to make you comfortable during the surgery. It will be sprayed in your throat, and you may need to gargle it. You will lie with your chin bent down to touch your chest. A mouthguard will keep you from biting down on the tools that are put into your mouth.
  • An ultrasound probe will be put into your mouth and down your throat. You may be asked to swallow several times as it is moved down your throat. The ultrasound will send sound waves to your heart. The sound waves can travel around your heart so pictures of your heart will show up clearly.

What should I expect after the procedure?

You will be taken to a room to rest. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

What are the risks of a TEE?

You may have trouble breathing or an irregular heartbeat. Your esophagus or trachea may tear. Your blood pressure may go too high or too low.

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 healthcare providers 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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Further information

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