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Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test that allows your doctor to record images of your heart from inside your esophagus, or food pipe. These images help your doctor identify and treat problems such as infection, disease, or defects in your heart’s walls or valves. Allow 1–2 hours from your arrival to the time you can leave.

Cutaway view of esophagus
A probe in your esophagus produces sound waves.

Before Your Test

  • Mention all the medications you take and ask if it’s okay to take them before the test.

  • Don’t eat or drink for 6–8 hours before the test. This includes water.

  • Tell your doctor if you have ulcers, a hiatal hernia, or problems swallowing. Also, let him or her know of any allergies to any medications or sedatives.

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after the exam.

  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your test.  This procedure will be done at the OMC hospital.  Please use the main entrance and check in at the front desk.

Image of patient during a TEE

During Your TEE

  • When you arrive for your TEE, you will change into a hospital gown, and then be taken to the testing room.

  • Your throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to numb it. You may be given a mild sedative through an IV (intravenous) line 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 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 hurt or interfere with your breathing. A nurse monitors your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. The test usually takes 20–40 minutes.

After the Test

  • You can eat and drink again when your throat is no longer numb (approximately 1-2 hours after the test is done).

  • Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment.  Your next appointment is: ____________________

  • Arrange for someone to accompany you to and from your appointment.

  • Do not drive or operate motorized vehicles or equipment. If you will be going home after the procedure, make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

  • You may wish to have a responsible adult stay with you for the remainder of the day.

  • Do not return to work.

  • Do not assume responsibility for small children or anyone dependent on your care.

  • Do not ride a bicycle or use in-line skates.

  • Avoid rough play and participation in sports.

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages.

  • You may wish to avoid making important decisions or signing legal documents.

  • If you have any questions regarding this procedure please call the following number and  ask for the Cardiology department 507.288.3443.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.