Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is an ultrasound of your heart obtained through your throat (esophagus). A small tube with a camera on the end of it will pass through your throat to take ultrasound pictures of the backside of your heart. The pictures show more detail than those obtained from the surface of your chest. A TEE is done when your doctor needs a closer look at your heart or does not get the information needed from a regular echocardiogram. The test is used to check how well your heart's valves and chambers are working and to check abnormalities in the top left chamber of your heart (left atrium).

Preparing For Your Procedure

  • You may have clear liquids (any fluid which is transparent, such as water, apple/cranberry/grape juice, black coffee or tea) until you leave for the hospital.
    • NO dairy products, including cream, or non-transparent fluids, such as orange/tomato juice.
    • NO solids after midnight the night before.
  • Please shower with soap and water prior to your procedure.
    • Do not use creams, lotions or oils.
    • Deodorant is acceptable.
  • If you wear glasses or hearing aids, please wear them that day.
    • Please leave all other valuable at home such as money, watches, and jewelry.
  • Arrive on time and bring your insurance card (please contact your insurance providers for coverage details).
  • Please make arrangements for someone to be with you during your stay and to drive you home.
    • Depending on your procedure you may be discharged the same day or stay overnight to be discharged the following day.

Can I Take My Medications?

  • Take your usual medication unless instructed otherwise by your physician.

What Can I Expect?

  • A spray will be applied to the back of your throat to help decrease your gag reflex and make it easier for the camera to pass through.
  • You will be given medications to make you sleepy and relaxed.
  • The procedure takes about 30 minutes (you will be in the hospital for 2-3 hours total).
  • You will need someone to drive you home after your procedure.

What Will My Recovery Be Like?

  • You may resume normal activity after you are discharged home from the hospital.
  • You will stay until you are able to demonstrate you ability to swallow without difficulty and the effect of the spray in your throat has worn off.
  • If you need a return to work slip, please ask for this prior to discharge.

If you have questions or concerns about preparing for this test, call your Cardiologist's office.

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