Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test done to record images of your heart with a probe inside your esophagus. These images help your healthcare provider find and treat problems such as infection, disease, or defects in your heart’s function, walls or valves. This test may be done when a chest echocardiogram (transthoracic) does not give your provider enough information.
Tell your provider about all the medicines you take. Ask if it’s OK to take them before the test.
Don’t eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the test. This includes water.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have ulcers, a hiatal hernia, or problems swallowing. Also report a history of narrowing of the esophagus, or any other previous gastrointestinal problems. Also, let him or her know of any allergies to medicines or sedatives.
Also let your provider know if you have dental implants or dentures that should be removed before the test.
Arrange to have someone drive you home after the exam.
When you arrive for your TEE, you will change into a hospital gown, and then be taken to the testing room.
Your provider will spray your throat with a numbing medicine. You may be given a medicine through an IV (intravenous) in your arm to help you relax. You may also be given oxygen. Then you’ll be asked to lie on your left side.
The healthcare provider gently inserts the small, lubricated probe into your mouth. As you swallow, he or she will slowly guide the tube into your esophagus.
You may feel the healthcare provider moving the probe, but it shouldn’t hurt or interfere with your breathing. A nurse checks your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. The test usually takes 20 to 40 minutes.
The nurse or assistant will suction any saliva out of your mouth, similar to when you have a dental cleaning.
Tell your healthcare provider about any pain, or if you cough up or vomit blood, or have trouble swallowing.
You can eat and drink again when your throat is no longer numb.
Do not drive a car or run heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after getting sedation. After 24 hours you can return to normal activity unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment to go over the results with your healthcare provider.
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