Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) represents a diagnostic test generating images of the heart. TEE technology comprises high-frequency sound waves called ultrasound to take very detailed photographs of the heart. The photographs capture the performance of heart valves and arteries that deliver oxygen starved blood to the heart, which the heart turns into oxygenated blood for supply to vital organs. Unlike transthoracic echocardiography that uses laser or radio frequency energy, ultrasound poses no risk of causing scar tissue within the heart’s chambers and arteries.
WHAT TEE ACCOMPLISHES
Dr. Chadda implements TEE to discover problems with the heart’s structural and functional capabilities. TEE offers our team of talented nurses, surgeons, and technicians a close up view of the upper heart chambers, as well as the valves located between the lower and upper heart chambers. The clear images offer evidence as to the size of a heart and the thickness of the artery walls.
We recommend the relatively simple medical procedure for our patients who experience chest pains or feel irregular heartbeats. We can clearly see the rate at which your heart beats and find any strange tissue surrounding the heart that might indicate a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection. Our team highly skilled nurses and technicians can pinpoint areas of the heart where blood has started to leak backwards and if the valves are partially or mostly blocked.
PATIENT PREPARATION FOR TEE
Dr. Chadda or one of the members of his medical staff will provide instructions on what you need to do before TEE. You can expect to refrain from consuming any alcoholic beverages several days before the test. Fasting is not as long as many other types of medical procedures, as we typically ask our patients to stop eating all types of and drinking non-alcoholic beverages between four and eight hours before the examination. Although the test is non-invasive, some of our patients might need a mild form of sedation to calm the nerves. Make arrangements for someone to drive you home after the diagnostic test concludes.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE TEST
The instrument attached to a very thin tube that sends the sound waves producing the echoed images is called a transducer. Dr. Chadda threads a very thin tube into the mouth and through the throat where it stops at the lower end of the esophagus. The bottom of the esophagus is located right above the upper heart chambers to ensure crystal clear images of the heart valves and arteries. We usually perform the procedure at our clinic, within a period between 30 and 60 minutes. To prevent swelling of the throat, we will spray medicine to numb the tissue and to prevent gag reflexes. We then attached electrodes on your chest, which connect to a machine recording the echocardiogram. The transducer sends the sound waves to the heart and it collects the returned echoes. After Dr. Chadda has collected all of the images he needs to make an accurate assessment of your heart, he will gently remove the probe, electrodes, and the IV that delivered the sedative.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER TEE
The primary risk of TEE is to experience mild pain in the throat after the procedure. Your throat might remain sore for one or two days, but the soreness should not require medical intervention. We ask you not to eat or drink anything until the numbness diminishes. You might experience an issue with swallowing right after the procedure. However, difficulty swallowing should not be a problem a few hours later. If your sore throat turns into acute pain or the mild soreness does not go away after a couple of days, contact our clinic to speak with one of our knowledgeable patient service professionals.
The risk-reward analysis for TEE makes it a no brainer for our patients to undergo the non-invasive test. After all, your heart is the epicenter of your well being and TEE ensures your heart valves, chambers, and arteries operate flawlessly.
Contact our clinic to learn more about TEE or schedule an appointment with Dr. Chadda to determine how well your heart is performing.