Transesophageal Echocardiograms (TEE)
Through use of high-frequency soundwaves, an echocardiogram provides doctors with an outline of the internal structure of the heart. It creates images in cross-section slices so that the valves and chambers can be viewed to see how the heart is functioning. For transesophageal echocardiograms, a patient will be sedated and given anesthetic. A probe will be inserted into the esophagus through the mouth. The heart is closer to the esophagus than it is to the outside of the chest, so this process can provide a clearer image of the heart than a transthoracic echocardiogram.
What are Echocardiograms used for?
Your doctor may recommend an echocardiogram if they suspect dysfunction in the valves or chambers of the heart. Common conditions that are found during this procedure are:
Valve disease occurs when one or more of the heart’s four valves aren’t working properly. Each valve has tissue that opens and closes when the heart beats, ensuring that blood flows in the right direction.
Usually the result of a blockage in the arteries, myocardial disease reduces blood flow to the heart.
The pericardium is a sac that envelops the heart and helps keep it in the correct position. Pericardial disease occurs when this tissue becomes inflamed and possibly rubs against the heart.
This issue occurs when the endocardium, the smooth membrane that lines the inside of the heart’s chambers, becomes infected with bacteria.
Cardiac masses are cancerous and non-cancerous growths that attach to the heart and heart valves.