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    Cardiology Services
    Transesophageal Echocardiography

    Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test that allows your doctor to record images of your heart from inside your esophagus, or food pipe. Since the esophagus lies just behind the heart, TEE may produce clearer pictures of the heart's movement than would standard echocardiography taken from outside the chest. During TEE, harmless sound waves bounce (echo) off your heart. These sound waves create images of your heart as it pumps blood through the valves and chambers. These images help your doctor identify and treat problems such as infection, disease, or defects in your heart's walls or valves. Drs. Angeja, Chan, Christoph and Nanevicz are trained in this technique which is performed at Peninsula Hospital.

    How TEE Works

    A flexible tube about the size of your index finger is inserted into your mouth and down your esophagus. At the tip of the tube is a small probe that produces sound waves. The sound waves bounce off your heart and are changed into pictures on a video screen. The doctor can move the probe up, down, and sideways to look at different parts of your heart from different angles. Your throat is numbed, so you should feel little or no discomfort during the procedure.

    Before the TEE

    Do not eat or drink 4-6 hours before your exam. Take any prescribed medications with a sip of water only. Arrange to have someone pick you up after the exam. Do not plan to drive yourself home, as you may be drowsy.

    During the TEE

    • Your throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to numb it. You may be given a mild sedative through an IV line in your arm to help you relax. You may also be given oxygen. Then you will be asked to lie on your left side.
    • The doctor gently inserts the probe into your mouth. As you swallow, the tube is slowly guided into your esophagus. The tube is lubricated to make it slide easily.
    • You may feel the doctor moving the probe, but it shouldn't be painful or interfere with your breathing. A nurse will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing during the test, which usually takes approximately 20-40 minutes.