A transesophageal echo (TEE) is a type of echo test in which a long, thin, flexible probe with an ultrasound transducer is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus (the "food pipe" leading from the mouth into the stomach).
The TEE test provides a close look at the heart’s valves and chambers, without interference from the ribs or lungs. TEE is often used when the results from standard echo tests are not sufficient, or when your cardiologist needs a closer look at your heart.
Why is this test performed?
The test is used to:
Before the test
When this test is recommended, please tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as a hiatal hernia, problems swallowing, or cancer.
Someone should come with you the day of the test to drive you home. You should not drive until the day after the procedure. The sedation given during the test causes drowsiness, dizziness and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery.
Can I eat or drink on the day of the test?
DO NOT eat anything for at least 6 hours before the test. Small amounts of water only are OK up to 2 hours before the test.
Should I take my medications the day of the test?
Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor. If it is 4 hours before the test, please take your medications with only a small sip of water.
If you have diabetes and take medications to manage your blood glucose, please contact your doctor for specific instructions about taking your medication before the test.
What should I wear on the day of the test?
You should wear comfortable clothing. You will change into a hospital gown before the test.
What happens during the test?
How will I feel during the test?
Because of the sedative, you may not be entirely awake for the test. We will keep you as comfortable as possible during the test. Tell the health care team if you feel uncomfortable at any time during the test. You may feel a temporary soreness or numbness in your throat after the test.
How long does the test take?
The test will usually take about 90 minutes. After you have recovered from the sedation, you may go home, but remember, you CANNOT drive after the test.
Can I eat after the test?
Wait at least one hour after the test (or until the numbness in your throat is gone) before eating or drinking. Start by drinking a cool liquid. If you don’t have any problems, you can eat and drink as you normally would.
How do I get the results of my test?
After the procedure the cardiologist will give you the results. However due to the sedatives, often times patients don’t remember much of the test or the conversation with the Cardiologist afterwards. In most cases the cardiologist will try to discuss the results (if approved) with your attending family members. Otherwise you will be called at a later time with results.