A standard echocardiogram, or echo, may raise more questions and additional testing may be recommended. Your healthcare provider may want you to have a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).
A TEE is a special echocardiogram that allows the cardiologist to get a better look at your heart from inside your body. A standard echo looks at the heart through the chest (skin, muscle and lung tissue). The TEE is done by placing a thin, flexible tube with an ultrasound probe attached to the end into your esophagus (food tube). The heart sits on top of the food tube, so the ultrasound probe looks through the esophagus directly at the heart.
The test is used to find:
- Blood clots
- Congenital abnormalities
- Disease of the aorta
- Heart infection
- Heart valve malfunctions
Special equipment is needed for a TEE; this is available in a hospital setting. The TEE is considered an outpatient procedure, unless the patient is already in the hospital.