A transesophageal echocardiogram (also called a TEE) may be recommended if it’s difficult to get a clear picture of your heart with a standard transthoracic echocardiogram, or in some cases the necessary information can’t be obtained by the external echocardiogram. In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube containing a transducer (picture gathering device) is guided down your throat and into your esophagus, which connects your mouth to your stomach. Your heart sits directly in front of the esophagus, so the transducer is much closer to it, and from there the more detailed images of your heart can be recorded. This test is done in the hospital setting, because for your comfort, safety and to enhance the quality of the pictures obtained, your throat will be numbed and you’ll have medications to help you relax during the procedure. In most cases you are able to go home with another adult later the same day (“outpatient”).
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