Why is Your Doctor Ordering a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)?

A TEE helps your doctor see areas of your heart and valves that may not be functioning well and determine many types of heart disease.

Your doctor may order TEE to:

  • Monitor heart function during surgery
  • Check how well an artificial heart valve works
  • Look for masses or blood clots in the upper left chamber (left atrium) of the heart
  • Identify abnormal blood flow between the chambers of the heart (cardiac shunt)
  • Help find out if you have endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart's valves or its inner lining (endocardium)
  • Guide procedures done during cardiac catheterization.
  • Help find out if you have a tear in the aorta (aortic dissection)

What is a TEE?

A TEE is a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create moving pictures of the heart and its blood vessels. The test shows the size and shape of the heart and how well heart chambers and valves are working.

What to Expect

During the TEE procedure, a small, flexible probe with an ultrasound camera at the end is placed into your esophagus (food pipe). A sedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat are used to make you comfortable during this test. You will be carefully monitored during the procedure. It takes about a half hour to get the images, but plan on spending four to five hours at the hospital.

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