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Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test done to record images of your heart with a probe inside your throat (esophagus). These images help your healthcare provider find and treat problems such as infection, disease, or defects in your heart’s function, walls or valves. This test may be done when a chest echocardiogram (transthoracic) does not give your provider enough information.

Before your test

  • Tell your provider about all the medicines you take. Ask if you should take them before the test. Your stomach typically should be empty for this test to prevent vomiting so your provider will likely tell you not to take them.

  • Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have ulcers, a hiatal hernia, or problems swallowing. Also report a history of narrowing of the esophagus, or any other previous gastrointestinal problems.  A smaller probe that may be needed for your study.

  • Also let him or her know of any allergies to medicines or sedatives.

  • Also let your provider know if you have dental implants or dentures that should be removed before the test.

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after the exam. You will be given a sedative for the test. It won't be safe to drive for a period of time.

During your TEE

  • When you arrive for your TEE, you will change into a hospital gown, and then be taken to the testing room.

  • Your provider will spray your throat with a numbing medicine. You may be given a medicine through an IV (intravenous) in your arm to help you relax. You may also be given oxygen. Then you’ll be asked to lie on your left side.

  • The healthcare provider gently puts the small, lubricated probe into your mouth. A small plastic or rubber bite-block will be put in your mouth to prevent you from biting down on the probe during the test. As you swallow, the provider will slowly guide the tube into your esophagus.

  • You may feel the healthcare provider moving the probe, but it shouldn’t hurt or interfere with your breathing. A nurse checks your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. The test usually takes 15 to 30min.

  • The nurse or assistant will suction any saliva out of your mouth, similar to when you have a dental cleaning.

After the test

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any pain, or if you cough up or vomit blood, or have trouble swallowing.

  • You can eat and drink again when your throat is no longer numb and you are fully awake.

  • Don't drive a car or run heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after getting sedation. After 24 hours you can return to normal activity unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

  • Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment to go over the results with your healthcare provider.

  • Your next appointment is: ____________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Mandy Snyder APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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