Why did my doctor order a transesophageal echocardiogram?
What preparations will I need to make?
How is the test administered?
How long will the procedure last?
What will the recovery be like?
Will my insurance cover this?
Who should I contact with questions about this test?
1. Why did my doctor order a transesophageal echocardiogram?
The purpose of this test is to allow your doctor to record images of your heart from inside your esophagus (food pipe), since your esophagus lies right behind your heart. Clearer pictures may result from TEE, rather than an echocardiogram where pictures are taken from outside the body. These images help your doctor identify and treat problems such as infection, disease or defects in your heart's walls or valves.
2. What preparations will I need to make?
You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for four to six hours prior to the test. Take any prescribed medications with a sip of water only. Arrange to have someone pick you up following the test, as you may be drowsy. Let your physician know if you are on medication for or have an ulcer, hiatal hernia or problems swallowing.
3. How is the test administered?
When you arrive at the hospital, you will change into a hospital gown and be taken to the testing room. Your throat will be numbed with an anesthetic spray. You may be given a mild sedative through an intravenous line (IV) to help you relax. If needed, you may also be given oxygen. If you wear dentures, you will be asked to remove them.
While you are lying on your left side, the doctor will gently insert a flexible tube about the size of your index finger into your mouth. As you swallow, the tube will slowly be guided into your esophagus. The tube is lubricated to make it slide easily. At the tip of the tube is a small probe that produces sound waves. These waves bounce off your heart and are changed into pictures on a video screen. While you will not feel it, the doctor will adjust the probe up, down or sideways, so he/she can view your heart from different angles. This will not interfere with your breathing.
During the test, a nurse will be available to monitor your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
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4. How long will the procedure last?
The procedure will last 20 to 40 minutes.
5. What will the recovery be like?
Recovery will last approximately one hour. Avoid eating and drinking until the numbness in your throat wears off. If you have sedation, don't drive for at least 12 hours. Should you experience throat soreness, soothe it with cold drinks and lozenges. Call your physician immediately if signs of bleeding, internal pain or a stiff neck develop.
6. Will my insurance cover this?
Depending on the type of coverage, most commercial insurance carriers will pay the major share of the cost. You should always consult your insurance company to determine proper coverage.
7. Who should I contact with questions about this test?
Feel free to consult your doctor.
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