Transesophageal Echocardiography

TEE shows:

  • Your heart’s size and the thickness of its walls
  • How well your heart is pumping
  • If there is abnormal tissue surrounding your heart valves
  • If blood is leaking backward through your heart valves
  • If you heart valves are narrowed or blocked
  • If there are any blood clots in your heart’s chambers

Your doctor may use TEE to provide pictures during certain procedures, including heart valve repair or surgery to treat endocarditis.

During the test, you lie on a table. A technician sprays your throat with a medicine to numb it and relax your gag reflex. A nurse puts an intravenous line in your arm and medicine (a mild sedative) to help calm you.

You wear small patches (electrodes) on your chest. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor. This measures your heart’s electrical activity during the test. A sonographer measures your resting heart rate and blood pressure. This is called a resting EKG.

Your doctor guides a thin, flexible tube (probe) through your mouth to your esophagus. The probe has a transducer on the end. The transducer sends sound waves to your heart and collects the echoes that bounce back. These translate into pictures on a video screen.

The test usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. You may have a mild sore throat for one to two days after you have the test.

Your doctor will talk with you about the results and answer any questions you may have.