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A Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is a test that takes pictures of the heart with the use of a flexible probe placed inside your esophagus. The heart is near the esophagus, and an ultrasound allows doctors to get very clear pictures of parts of the heart that are not well seen by a regular echocardiogram taken from outside your chest.
The pictures are displayed on the ultrasound monitor and are recorded on a disk. The TEE is performed and interpreted by a cardiologist, and it's valuable in checking various conditions, such as how bad disease may have affected heart valves and whether they need to be surgically repaired, or if there are blood clots or masses within the heart.
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You must have
NOTHING to eat or drink from midnight the night before your test. Medications can be taken with a sip of water unless your doctor tells you not to.
A friend or family member is required to be present in the lab during the test. You will be sedated during this procedure. The friend or family member will be instructed on how to care for you after the exam and be required to drive and/or accompany you home. They can also help you gather information, take notes and ask questions.
Bring with you to your appointment your:
When you arrive at the
Echocardiography Labcheck in at the reception desk. The receptionist will ask you:
You will be given a name band to wear. You will be given a brief list of questions to answer regarding your medical history and medications.
A sonographer will escort you to a changing room where you will be asked to remove all clothing from the waist up off. A patient gown will be provided. Please leave your valuables with the person who has come with you for the test. You will be taken into the procedure room.
During the test, the sonographer may perform a transthoracic echocardiogram. The anesthesia assistant will review your medical history with you and determine whether you need a sedative during the test. The cardiologist will then explain the procedure and its risks – feel free to ask questions before you sign the consent form.
Monitors will be attached to you to record your heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood oxygen level during the test. A needle will be inserted into an arm vein to give you medications to help you relax. Then you'll be given a small amount of oxygen. You'll also be asked to remove any dentures.
A local anesthetic (Xylocaine) will be sprayed to the back of your throat to numb it, and you'll be given a liquid form of Xylocaine to gargle. Then we'll need you to lie on your left side. The doctor will slowly pass the probe through your mouth and into the esophagus. You may feel some pressure and discomfort as the probe is being directed into position, but it's generally not painful. Once the probe is in position, the doctor will take pictures of your heart. The sonographer will assist in operating the ultrasound machine.
After the test, you'll stay in the lab until you recover from the sedative. The anesthesia assistant will review with you the instructions for after your test, and you'll get a written copy of them before you go home.
Your throat will still be frozen/numb so you should have nothing to eat or drink for at least 2 hours afterwards. Then you should start by slowly taking sips of the liquid. Make sure that you feel the liquid going down your throat properly. If you don't feel the liquid, wait half an hour and try again.
Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for the remainder of the day. Arrange in advance for someone to take you home.
The report will be sent to the doctor who requested the TEE and he/she will discuss the results with you at a later time.
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) usually takes 2 to 3 hours.
We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.
You will be contacted with information about your first appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment. Not all of these items may be needed for your appointment. Our clinic or your referring doctor will let you know what you must bring.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
When you arrive, you will sign in with the receptionist. You will need your health card (OHIP card) to sign-in. If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
You may be given a Measuring Health Equity Questionnaire to fill out. This form contains questions about your background. We collect this information to find out who we serve and what unique needs you may have. The form is voluntary and you can choose ‘prefer not to answer’ to any or all questions. However, the information you choose to give us will help us improve the quality of care for you and others.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments. Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take 15 to 30 minutes. We do everything we can to stay on time but sometimes unforeseen circumstances may delay your appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don’t get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
After every appointment, a member of your health care team will tell you about your next visit. Be sure you understand what is going to happen next. For example, know the time and place of your next visit or if someone will call you with this information.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.
We understand that reaching us by phone can sometimes be difficult. Often our phone lines are busy or are turned over to the message centre so our staff can prepare for clinic visits or help other patients. We make every effort to return your call within 24 hours. Our staff will try to reach you 2 times. If we are not able to reach you directly you may need to call us again.