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Heart & Vascular

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Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

What is a Transesophageal Echocardiogram?

This is a test a cardiologist performs by inserting a flexible tube about the size of your index finger into your mouth and down your esophagus (feeding tube). This flexible tube has a probe (transducer) on the tip that uses soundwaves to produce moving pictures of your heart.

These pictures show the doctor a clearer and closer look of your heart. This helps your doctor identify and treat problems such as infections, disease or defects in your heart’s wall or valves.

Before the Test

  • Do not eat or drink for six to eight (6–8) hours before the test.
  • Remove any dentures.
  • Tell the doctor if you are on blood thinning medication; have any problems swallowing, a hiatel hernia, heart valve disease or allergies to medications; or any loose teeth.

During Your Transesophageal Echocardiogram 
You will wear a hospital gown and lie down on a stretcher for the test. A nurse will connect you to a heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff and start an IV to give you medicine during the test. Oxygen will also be given to you during the test and a pulse oximeter will be placed on your finger to check your oxygen levels. After your throat is numbed, you will turn on your left side and medicine will be given in your IV to help you relax.

You will not be put to sleep, but most people do not remember the test.

The doctor will insert the probe into your mouth and ask you to swallow as it is guided into your esophagus. The probe is lubricated to make it easy to slide and swallow. You may feel the probe moving, but it should not be painful. While the doctor moves the probe to look at different pictures of your heart, the nurse may suction the back of your throat to remove any secretions. After the doctor removes the probe, the nurse will continue to monitor your condition until you are ready to return to your room or be discharged.

After the Test

  • Do not eat or drink until the numbness in your throat is gone.
  • If the test was done as an outpatient, you must have a responsible adult with you to drive you home and stay with you until the next morning.
  • Your throat may be sore for a few days.
  • If you have any bleeding or internal pain, please call your doctor.

If you would like more information, please call (919) 350-8150.