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Transesophageal Echocardiography Exam (TEE)


TEE is a specialized heart exam that lets the doctor see pictures of the heart from a sensor placed in the esophagus (swallowing tube) behind the heart. The sensor is small and no wider than a normal size piece of food. The sensor is on the tip of a thin scope/tube. It sends and receives sound waves from the heart. These sound waves make high quality pictures of the heart.


A doctor trained to do this exam will perform your test. It will take about one hour, but the tube is usually in for only 10 to 15 minutes. Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored continuously.

You’ll be asked to remove dentures and any oral prosthesis, then gargle with a liquid to numb your throat, a numbing spray will be sprayed in the back of your throat. A mild sedative may be given to your in your IV. A medication may be given to decrease the saliva in your mouth. You’ll lie on your side for the tube to be inserted. Mouth suction, like dentist use, may be placed in your mouth. After the test, the tube will be gently removed.

Important Points

  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the test. Medications may be taken with small sips of water. Ask your Doctor to make sure he/she wants you to take your medication that day.
  • You may receive a mild sedative, so you should bring along a friend or relative to drive you home.
  • You should not eat or drink anything for at least one hour or until the numb feeling in your throat goes away.
  • Check in at Registration 15 minutes before your appointment.

If you have questions, call the Cardiopulmonary Department at 252-808-6195.