An echocardiogram (echo) uses ultrasound to create pictures of your heart’s movement.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo that uses a long, thin, tube (endoscope) to guide the ultrasound transducer down the esophagus (“food pipe” that goes from the mouth to the stomach).
This lets the doctor see pictures of the heart without the ribs or lungs getting in the way. A TEE is done when your doctor needs a closer look at your heart or does not get the information needed from a regular echo.
You may need a combination of a TEE, Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to get information about how blood flows across your heart’s valves.
The test is used to:
If you need a TEE, please tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as a hiatal hernia, problems swallowing, sleep apnea, or IV drug use. It is important to tell your physician if you take medication to help you sleep, relieve anxiety, and/or narcotic pain medication.
Plan for someone to drive you home. You will be sedated for the TEE and unable to drive the same day. Please bring someone with you to drive you home and go with you to any other appointments you have. You may drive again the day after the test.
DO NOT eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the test.
Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor. Please take your medications with only a small sip of water.
If you have diabetes and take medications to manage your blood glucose, please ask your doctor for specific instructions about taking your medication before the test.
You may wear anything you like. You will change into a hospital gown before the test. Do not bring valuables.
Before the test, you will learn about the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. Please ask us any questions you have. You will sign a consent form to show that you understand the risks and benefits of the test and agree to have it done.
The sedative may make you drowsy. We will keep you as comfortable as possible. Please let us know if you feel uncomfortable at any time. Your throat may be sore or numb after the test. These feelings will go away.
The test will take about 90 minutes. Afterwards, you may need more tests. Otherwise, your driver can take you home.
Wait at least one hour after the test (or until the numbness in your throat is gone) before you eat or drink. Start by drinking a cool liquid. If you don’t have any problems drinking cool liquids, you can eat and drink normally.
Your doctor will get your test results and share them with you.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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