Transesophageal Echocardiography

What is transesophageal echocardiography?

Just as an echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create images of your heart’s movement, a transesophageal echocardiogram uses a long, thin tube called an endoscope to guide an ultrasound transducer down the esophagus and to the stomach. It allows your doctor to see pictures of your heart without the obstructions of your ribs or lungs. Transesophageal echocardiography gives your doctor a closer look at your heart. Some patients need this combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to gain more information about blood flow across their heart’s valves.

Transesophageal echocardiograms tell the doctor how well your heart’s valves and chambers are working and identify problems such as cardiac masses, congenital heart disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis and valve disease. The procedure can also reveal how well your heart valves are working after surgery, reveal blood clots and check for abnormalities in the top left chamber of your heart. Overall, transesophageal echocardiography allows your doctor to identify suspected problems with heart valves and chambers, as well your heart’s ability to pump blood, and also important for identifying potential causes of stroke.

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