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Transesophageal Echocardiogram

What is a Transesophageal Echocardiogram? Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is an ultrasound test that provides images of your heart. By having you swallow a flexible probe, the cardiologist can see the structure of your heart without having the skin, rib cage, and muscle of the chest interfere with the pictures. During the TEE, sound waves bounce (echo) off your heart and create images on a video screen. The images help your physician identify problems such as heart infection or disease, or problems with your heart’s walls or valves.

Special considerations before your procedure:

  • You will need to have someone available to drive you home.
  • Do not eat or drink eight hours before your procedure.
  • Your physician may instruct you to take your usual morning medications with a small sip of water. If you have diabetes and take insulin check with your physician.
  • If you have an artificial heart valve, be sure to tell your physician, as you will need to receive a dose of IV antibiotics before the procedure.
  • Bring all of your medications with you in their original container. This includes over-the-counter and herbal medicines.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours after your procedure.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.

What should I expect when I arrive?

  • You will check in with the receptionist at the Hanson Heart Center within Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph and be asked to fill out paperwork.
  • The nurse will take you to the prep area to review your health history and answer your questions.
  • In the prep area you will sign consents, change into a gown, and have two IVs started. The IVs will allow us to give you fluids and medications as needed. You will also be given an IV antibiotic to prevent infection. 
  • You should plan to be in the Heart Center for at least two hours.

What happens during the procedure?

  • If you wear dentures, you will be asked to remove them. Your throat will be sprayed with an anesthetic. You will also be given oxygen through a nasal canal.
  • You will lie on your left side. A sedative will be given through your IV to help you relax. The probe is gently inserted into your mouth and guided into your esophagus (throat or food tube) by your physician. The probe will be lubricated to make it slide easily. You may feel the physician moving the probe, but it shouldn’t be painful.
  • The actual procedure lasts 10 to 15 minutes. The remainder of the time is spent in preparation and recovery.

What happens after the procedure?

  • After the procedure you will be monitored for about one to two hours. 
  • You should not eat or drink for at least two hours because your throat will still be numb. 
  • Call your doctor if you experience sore throat or trouble swallowing that lasts more than 24 hours, bleeding, persistent pain, or fever.