What is a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)?

An echocardiogram (echo) uses ultrasound to create pictures of your heart’s movement.

A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo that uses a long, thin, tube (endoscope) to guide the ultrasound transducer down the esophagus (“food pipe” that goes from the mouth to the stomach).

This lets the doctor see pictures of the heart without the ribs or lungs getting in the way. A TEE is done when your doctor needs a closer look at your heart or does not get the information needed from a regular echo.

You may need a combination of a TEE, Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to get information about how blood flows across your heart’s valves.

Why is this test performed?

The test is used to:

  • Check how well your heart’s valves and chambers are working
  • Look for problems, such as valve disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis, cardiac masses and congenital heart disease
  • See how well your heart valves are working after surgery
  • Check for abnormalities in the top left chamber of your heart (left atrium)

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