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Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

What Is It?

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a test done with a flexible scope to obtain images of your heart. The results of this test will help your doctor to make a diagnosis.

How Do I Prepare?

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the test.
  • Discuss with your doctor what medications you should take.
  • If you are taking medication to thin your blood (e.g., Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or aspirin), you should check with your doctor about stopping these medications before this test.
  • Medications that your doctor has instructed you to take can be taken with a small amount of water.
  • If you wear dentures, they must be removed for the procedure.
  • Be sure to arrange transportation. Someone must stay with you at the hospital until discharge and drive you home. Transportation will be verified before the procedure. You may use a taxi cab for your transportation only if you have a person accompanying you other than the taxi cab driver. Your procedure may be cancelled if these arrangements are not made.

What Happens During the Procedure?

  • Consent is signed.
  • Your stomach must be completely empty for the best and safest exam.
  • An intravenous needle (IV) is inserted.
  • You will be given medication to make you sleepy and relaxed and to minimize discomfort.
  • Your throat may be sprayed with a medication to numb your gag reflex.
  • Oxygen will be used throughout the procedure.
  • Your blood pressure and pulse will be continuously monitored throughout the procedure.
  • You will be lying on your left side throughout the procedure.
  • A mouthpiece will be inserted and you will bite down on it with your teeth. The scope is inserted into your mouth to the back of your throat, into the upper esophagus.
  • Images of your heart are transmitted through sound waves.
  • The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • Recovery time is about one hour.