An echocardiogram (echo) uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a graphic outline of the heart’s movement.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo test in which the ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus (the “food pipe” leading from the mouth into the stomach). An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument that is about Ω inch in diameter.
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 doctor wants a closer look at your heart.
TEE may be combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.
Why is this test performed?
The test is used to:
- Assess the overall function of your heart’s valves and chambers
- Determine the presence of many types of heart disease, such as valve disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis, cardiac masses and congenital heart disease
- Evaluate the effectiveness of valve surgery
- Evaluate abnormalities of the left atrium