Transesophageal Echocardiography

Echocardiography, also called an echo test or heart ultrasound, is a simple and painless procedure that uses sound waves to take pictures of your heart. But a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is a specific type of echocardiogram that uses a thin tube, called an endoscope, to guide the ultrasound transducer or probe down the esophagus between the mouth and stomach. This allows your doctor to see images of your heart without the ribs or lungs getting in the way.

A TEE is performed when your doctor needs a closer look at your heart or does not get the information needed from a regular echo test. Detailed pictures provided by a TEE can help doctors see:

  • The size of your heart and how thick its walls are
  • How well your heart is pumping
  • If there is abnormal tissue around your heart valves that could be a sign of infection or even cancer
  • If blood is leaking backward through your heart valves or if your valves are narrowed or blocked
  • If blood clots are in the chambers of your heart, for example, after a stroke

If you need a TEE, your Mercy physician will explain the procedure and how to prepare for it. The test usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes.

After your test results are available, your doctor will talk to you about the diagnosis and treatment options for any type of heart condition you may have. We’ll answer all of your questions and help you choose the best treatment for your heart and overall health.

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