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Transesophageal Echocardiography Testing at Drexel Cardiology

Close-up of Man's Neck

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a variation of the standard echocardiography test. It is performed by passing a very small tube down the throat and into the esophagus (or swallowing tube), until it reaches the level of the heart. TEE produces very finely detailed images of the heart and related structures because image-making sound waves are generated next to the heart.

Drexel cardiologists use transesophageal echocardiography to diagnose cardiac structural abnormalities such as those affecting the heart valves, heart chambers or blood vessels.

The Transesophageal Echocardiography Procedure

During transesophageal echocardiography, the patient's heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygenation level will be monitored. An IV will be started in the arm so that any medications needed during the exam can be administered, and a sedative may be given to help the patient relax. Next any dentures are removed and a topical numbing medication is sprayed into the back of the mouth. A small tube is placed into the mouth and passed down the throat. The patient is asked to swallow repeatedly to help position the tube correctly. This portion of the procedure may be uncomfortable, but is not painful.

Images are acquired at various cardiac locations. The imaging takes 10 to 30 minutes, with the total study taking approximately two hours.

Preparing for Transesophageal Echocardiography

Patients should not eat or drink for eight hours before the test, and they should discuss how to adjust their medications prior to the study with their physician. Also, those with diabetes should ask their physician how to adjust their insulin dosage. Patients should inform the physician of a history of hiatal hernia, or any disorder affecting the upper digestive system, such as cancer.

Transesophageal Echocardiography Recovery

Patients will be monitored in a recovery area until the anesthetic numbing spray has worn off and they are able to swallow fluids normally. Driving is not permitted after the study and patients should arrange to have someone else take them home.

Transesophageal Echocardiography Specialists

Sallie Cho, MD
Specialties: Cardiovascular, Nuclear cardiology imaging, Cardiology

Paulina Gorodin Kiliddar, MD
Specialties: Cardiology, Women's cardiac health, Preventive cardiology, Non-invasive testing, Stress echocardiography, Stress testing, Treadmill EKG, Nuclear stress testing, Echocardiogram

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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