Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make detailed pictures of the heart and the arteries that lead to and from it. TEE is used when the physician needs a closer look at the heart or does not get the information needed from a regular echo.

Unlike a standard echocardiogram, TEE is like an endoscope that guides an ultrasound transducer down the esophagus. The tube-like transducer produces sound waves that provide clearer pictures of the upper chambers of the heart and the valves between the upper and lower chambers of the heart than can be captured with standard echocardiograms.

The detailed pictures provided by TEE can help providers:

  • Check how well the patient’s heart valves and chambers are working
  • Look for problems, such as valve disease, myocardial disease, pericardial disease, infective endocarditis, cardiac masses, and congenital heart disease
  • View the size of the heart and how thick its walls are
  • See if there is abnormal tissue around the heart valves that could indicate bacterial, viral, or fungal infections or cancer
  • See if blood is leaking backward through the heart valves (regurgitation) or if the valves are narrowed or blocked (stenosis)
  • Detect blood clots in the chambers of the heart, particularly the upper chamber, after a stroke

TEE is also often used to provide information during surgery to repair heart valves, a tear in the aorta, or congenital heart lesions. Additionally, it can be used during surgical treatment for endocarditis.

To learn more about TEE or to refer your patient to one of our specialists, call 855-WVU-CARE (855-988-2273).