Find us on Social Media:

Transesophageal Echocardiography
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Transesophageal Echocardiography?

Echocardiography uses sound waves (ultrasound) to make images of the heart. In transesophageal echocardiography, the ultrasound probe is passed down the throat in the esophagus, or food pipe. The esophagus sits very close to the heart. This method allows for clearer images of the heart than other methods.

This test is done to look for problems of the heart, including:

  • Enlarged heart
  • Thickening of the heart walls
  • Heart valve malfunction
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Other conditions

Abnormal Heart Walls
Abnormal Heart Walls
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. You will be given light sedation for the procedure. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Bleeding or damage to the throat or esophagus

You may be at higher risk for complications if you:

  • Have throat problems
  • Had radiation therapy to the throat
  • Have a history of stomach ulcers or esophageal varices
  • Have strictures or narrowing of the esophagus
  • Have sleep apnea or severe respiratory disorders (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease )

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Sore throat does not subside or...