TEE (Transesophageal Echocardiogram)
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is
an ultrasound test that uses sound waves to
examine the heart. TEE is used in place of a
standard echo test when clearer images of
the heart are needed.
How a TEE Works
A long, flexible tube (probe) is placed into
the mouth and down the esophagus (food
tube). On the tip of the probe is a small
microphone-like device called a transducer.
This tiny device sends ultrasound waves that
bounce off parts of the heart, and then it
picks up the reflected waves and sends them
to a computer. The computer turns the
echoes into moving images of the heart.
The images show the size and motion of
various parts of the heart as well as the flow
of blood through the chambers and valves.
Getting Ready for a TEE
ξ Do not eat or drink for 8 hours.
Your stomach needs to be empty for
a TEE. If you have diabetes, let your
doctor know since you may need
ξ Arrange to have someone drive you
home from the hospital. You may
not drive yourself since you may be
ξ Tell your doctor if you have any
problems swallowing or problems
with your stomach or esophagus, e.g.
esophageal varices or surgery.
ξ Let your doctor know if you are
allergic to any medicines.
ξ Before a TEE, your doctor will tell
you about the procedure and the risks
and benefits. Plan to sign a consent
form. If you have ANY questions,
Although the risk is small,
these complications can
ξ Abnormal heart rhythms
ξ Breathing problems
ξ Reaction to medicines
ξ Perforation of the
ξ Clearer Images
than a standard
ξ May lead to a more
and treatment plan
What to Expect During Your TEE
When you arrive, you will change into a
hospital gown. An IV (a small intravenous
tube) will be placed into a vein in your arm.
If you wear dentures, they will be removed
before the TEE is started.
You will be asked to lie down on your left
side. Your throat will be sprayed with a
numbing medicine (anesthetic). You will
also receive medicine through your IV to
help you relax.
The doctor gently places the probe into your
mouth. As you swallow, the probe is guided
into your esophagus. Although you may gag
as the probe is inserted, most people do not
feel pain. Once the probe is positioned
behind the heart, the doctor can move the
probe up, down, and sideways to view the
heart from a variety of angles.
Though the TEE exam takes 15-20 minutes,
expect to be at the hospital for over 2 hours.
After Your TEE
ξ Do not drive for at least 12 hours.
ξ Do not eat or drink until your throat
is no longer numb (about 1 hour).
ξ Your throat may be sore. After the
first hour, soothe it with cold drinks
ξ Due to a side effect of the
medication, you may not remember
When to Call Your Doctor
ξ Trouble swallowing
ξ Shortness of breath
ξ Chest pain
If you have any of the symptoms listed
above, call your doctor or the UW Health
Emergency Room at 608-262-2398.
The doctor performing the TEE should be
able to give you preliminary results before
you leave. Your doctor will receive a
written report and talk with you about the
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017University of Wisconsin Hospitals and
Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6138