Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
Echocardiography uses sound waves (ultrasound) to make
images of the heart. In transesophageal
echocardiography, the ultrasound probe is passed down
the throat in the esophagus, or food pipe. The esophagus
sits very close to the heart. This method allows for
clearer images of the heart than other methods.
Reasons for Procedure
This test is done to look for problems of the heart,
Thickening of the heart walls
Heart valve malfunction
Abnormal Heart Walls
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Complications are rare, but no procedure is
completely free of risk. You will be given light
sedation for the procedure. Your doctor will
review a list of possible complications, which
Abnormal heart rhythms
Bleeding or damage to the throat
You may be at higher risk for complications if
Have throat problems
Had radiation therapy to the
Have a history of stomach ulcers
or esophageal varices
Have strictures or narrowing of
Have sleep apnea or severe
respiratory disorders (eg,
chronic obstructive pulmonary
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Avoid alcohol for several days before
the procedure. Alcohol may interfere
with the type of sedative used.
Do not eat or drink for 4-8 hours before
You will be given a mild sedative through an IV.
You will be sleepy throughout the procedure. A
topical anesthetic may also be applied to the
back of the throat. This will numb the throat.
Description of the Procedure
You will be asked to lie on your side in
a hospital gown. The ultrasound probe
will be slid down your throat and into
the esophagus until it is near the
heart. The device will create active
images of the heart. When the imaging is
done, the probe will be taken out.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
There may be some mild discomfort during the
procedure. Most patients sleep through the
procedure and remember very little of it. Your
throat may be sore for a few days.
You will need a ride home from the procedure. Do
not eat or drink until the numbness in your
throat wears off. This will keep you from
inhaling food or drink into the lungs. Be sure
to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Talk to your doctor about the results of the
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the
Sore throat does not subside or worsens
Pain in the throat or chest develops
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/
Heart DiseaseCenters for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php/
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
Griffin BP, Topol EJ. Manual of Cardiovascular Medicine . 2nd ed.
Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Willkins; 2004.
Niedermeyer J, Daniel WG. Value of transesophageal echocardiography in
diagnosis of diseases of native heart valves. Herz .
Pascoe RD, Oh JK, Warnes CA, Danielson GK, Tajik AJ, Seward JB.
Diagnosis of sinus venosus atrial septal defect With transesophageal
echocardiography. Circulation . 1996;94:1049-1055.
Reviewer: David N. Smith, MD
Review Date: 12/2011
Update Date: 12/30/2011