What is the
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) utilizes ultrasound, the same
technology used to image developing babies in utero,
to examine and evaluate the heart. A cardiologist may recommend TEE for
patients with suspected heart problems that can't be visualized well with
standard echocardiography. In contrast to conventional ultrasound imaging of
the heart, which transmits ultrasound from the outside of the
chest wall, TEE uses a miniaturized transducer probe which is placed inside the
esophagus (the "swallowing tube") and the stomach. TEEs, which
are performed at Cayuga Medial Center in the Cardiac Services Department,
require about two hours from beginning to end,
including preparation and recovery.
How do I
refrain from eating and drinking anything after midnight on the night before
the exam. You may take your regular medications with a small sip of water.
Since you will be under mild sedation during the exam, bring a friend or family
member with you to review the test results and discharge instructions, and to
drive you home after the exam.
What can I
expect during the test?
Give yourself 15
minutes to check in at Outpatient Registration. Once you arrive in the testing
area, a nurse will take your health history and blood pressure, and the
cardiologist will answer any questions you have about the exam. You will be
asked to remove any dentures or oral prostheses. The cardiologist may prescribe
a “throat prep” that entails gargling with a medicine that numbs your throat,
and you will receive an intravenous sedative to help you relax. The transducer
is mounted on a thin, flexible tube which the cardiologist will pass through
your mouth and into the esophagus and, if necessary, into the stomach. If you
have your own natural teeth, a bite block will be used; this is a hard plastic
ring with a foam cushion around it to protect your teeth and the scope. Some
people experience a gagging sensation but this diminishes quickly. During the
procedure, ultrasound images of the heart and valves are displayed on a monitor
and recorded on videotape.
After the test?
After your exam,
you will recover in the same room in which your procedure was performed. When
you are fully awake, your companion should drive you home, as it will be unsafe
for you to operate a car for the next few hours. You may resume eating as soon
as you regain sensation in your throat.
when will I get my test results?
You will receive
your test results at the conclusion of the test. Your cardiologist will review
them with you and the companion or designated driver who accompanied you. The
test results are also sent to your referring physician within 48 hours.
the test performed?
performed in the Cardiac Services Department at Cayuga Medical Center, 101
Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96, in Ithaca.