Heart Health

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

What is a transesophageal echocardiogram?

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is a test that uses sound waves to assess the heart’s functions and structures. A TEE test is very similar to a standard echocardiogram. However, the transducer used for the TEE  is guided into the esophagus rather than being held against the skin. 

A TEE may be necessary if you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate a heart condition, including:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Leg swelling
  • Abnormal ECG/EKG results
  • Heart murmurs

Your doctor may use a TEE to diagnose: 

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiac tumor
  • Pericarditis
  • Pericardial effusion of tamponade
  • Atrial or septal wall defects
  • Shunts

What happens during a transesophageal echocardiogram?

During a TEE,  a thin transducer is guided through the mouth and into the esophagus. 

The transducer then sends out high-frequency sound waves through the esophagus until it reaches the heart. These sound waves are recorded and converted into moving images of the heart valves and other structures. 

Unlike a standard echocardiogram, the TEE can produce extremely clear images due to the esophagus’s proximity to the heart. Your doctor may recommend a TEE  if you have a thick chest wall, have bandages on your chest, use a ventilator to help you breathe, or are obese.

What are the risks of a transesophageal echocardiogram?

TEEs have a low risk of severe complications in both adults and children. After this test, you may experience a mild sore throat for up to 48 hours. Although rare, the transducer can cause damage to the esophagus. 

The health care professionals at Baptist Health are able to identify many heart conditions using a transesophageal echocardiogram. To learn more about TEEs, or other cardiac care procedures, request an appointment with one of our experts today.