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Highland Hospital / Departments - Centers / Cardiology / Tests and Procedures / Transesophageal Echocardiogram

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Information about This Test

  • This is a specialized ultrasound of the heart which involves sedating the patient and placing a thin ultrasound probe through the mouth and down through their swallowing tube (esophagus.) As the esophagus lies against the back wall of the heart, this vantage point allows the capture of very high resolution ultrasound images of the heart’s anatomy. It also allows visualization of structures that may not be well seen by an ultrasound performed from the skin’s surface.
  •  Transesophageal echocardiograms are most commonly used to evaluate heart valves prior to surgery, to look for infection of a heart valve (endocarditis) or to assess for blood clots inside the heart.
  •  Like a standard echocardiogram, a transesophageal echocardiogram also evaluates all chambers of the heart and the function of all 4 valves inside the heart. It also allows for enhanced visualization of the vessels coming into and leaving the heart.
  •  This study requires the patient to be sedated, and thus requires an IV.

How Long Does This Procedure Take

The procedure usually takes about 60-90 minutes. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure due to the need for sedation. You will be discharged to home, usually within 1-2 hours after the procedure is complete.

What Preparation is Required Prior To This Procedure

  • We ask that patients do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to their procedure.
  •  You should take all of your normal medications as prescribed before this procedure. You can take pills with sips of water as needed.
  •  You may be asked to remove your shirt and bra if applicable, prior to this procedure.
  •  We recommend urinating just prior to this procedure so that you are comfortable during the procedure.

Who Performs/Interprets This Procedure

  • This procedure is performed by a cardiologist that has advanced echocardiography certification and with a nurse and cardiac sonographer in the room assisting.


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