Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a way of performing an echocardiogram in which the echo transducer is placed in the esophagus or food pipe of the patient to get a much clearer image of the heart compared to the standard echo. Transesophageal Echo (TEE) gives clear images of the back structures of the heart, such as the left atrium, which may not be seen as well by a standard echo taken from the front of the heart.
Clearer images in the case of Transesophageal Echocardiography are possible because the heart rests directly upon the esophagus leaving only millimeters that the ultrasound beam has to travel. This reduces the attenuation of the ultrasound signal, generating a stronger return signal, ultimately enhancing image and Doppler quality. All these structures, along with the increased distance the beam must travel, weaken the ultrasound signal thus degrading the image and Doppler quality.
Test Procedure details of Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE):
Transesophageal Echo requires sedation to ease the discomfort and the throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to numb it. The ultrasound probe containing the echo transducer is then inserted into the patient’s mouth and the patient is asked to swallow. The tube goes down the esophagus the same way as swallowed food.
The transducer at the end of the tube is positioned in the esophagus, directly behind the heart. By rotating and moving the tip of the transducer, the physician can examine the heart from several different angles. The heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are monitored during the procedure. Oxygen is given as a preventive measure and suction is used, as needed.
Uses of Transesophageal Echocardiography:
- Transesophageal Echo is used to evaluate and image the aorta, pulmonary artery, valves of the heart, both atria, atrial septum, left atrial appendage, and coronary arteries.
- A Transesophageal Echo is extremely useful in detecting blood clots, masses and tumors that are located inside the heart.
- Transesophageal Echo has a very high sensitivity for locating a blood clot inside the left atrium.
- Transesophageal Echo is used to gauge the severity of certain valve problems and help detect infection of heart valves, certain congenital heart diseases and a tear of the aorta.
- Transesophageal echocardiography is also beneficial where conditions such as closely positioned ribs, obesity and emphysema create technical difficulties in the use of Transesophageal Echo by limiting the transmission of the ultrasound beams to and from the heart.
An echocardiogram is a painless procedure that enables doctors to see how well the heart is functioning. The test utilizes sound waves to create moving images that are recorded and displayed on a system. Echocardiography enables physicians to see the size and shape of the heart. Echocardiography helps doctors to pinpoint heart muscles that aren’t working efficiently and detect blood clots or problems with major arteries.
Advanced Cardiovascular Care Center with a team of top cardiologists provides Transesophageal Echo Test Services in Houston at patient’s personal level.