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Transesophageal Echocardiogram


What is a TEE or Transesophageal Echocardiogram?

A Transesophageal Echocardiogram (also called TEE for short) is a test used  to obtain ultrasound pictures of the heart with an instrument that is placed in the esophagus.

What does the test show?

Due to the proximity of the esophagus to the heart, extremely detailed pictures of the heart can be obtained using  ultrasound.  The Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) enables the doctor to visualize the structures, valves and vessels of the heart that cannot be seen by a conventional echocardiogram.  The information obtained from this test is very useful in helping your doctor to diagnose and treat you.

What can I expect during my visit?

Upon your arrival to our Mineola office, you will be asked to sign a consent form.  Our nurse and cardiologist will then fully explain the procedure and answer any question you may have.  To start the test, an IV line will be placed in your arm while your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored.

To make the procedure more comfortable, some medication will be administered to numb your mouth.  You will also begin to feel very relaxed as the sedative takes effect.  The TEE probe will then be placed in the mouth and esophagus by the doctor.

Pictures of the heart will be taken for approximately 10 minutes.  The TEE will then be removed.  Thereafter, you will be monitored for approximately 60-90 minutes.  You should avoid eating or drinking until the numbness in your throat has subsided.   When the sedative has worn off, the results will be explained and  recommendations for treatment made.  Your primary care physician will also receive a copy of the findings.  For safety reasons, we advise you to refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery until the next day.

How do I prepare for this test?

It is important that you do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the examination.  Small sips of water are permitted with your morning medications.  If you are taking medications for diabetes, please speak with the physician concerning dosages before the test date.

Before scheduling this test, please let your doctor know immediately if you have had problems with your esophagus in the past or difficulty swallowing, especially solid foods.

Immediately prior to the test, you will receive a small dose of medication with a sedative effect.  Therefore we require that someone be available to provide you with transportation home, as it will not be safe for you to drive.  We will be unable to perform the test unless these arrangements have been made beforehand.  That individual may wait for you, or we can place a call to them when the test is completed.

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