What is transoesophageal echocardiography?
A transesophageal echocardiography is an alternative method to perform an echocardiogram of the heart. The test gives clear and accurate image of the heart, which helps assess the heart’s structure and how it functions.
What happens during the procedure?
An ultrasound transducer is inserted into the patient’s throat into the oesophagus. A transesophageal echocardiography gives a more detailed view of the heart’s movements as the probe is closed to the heart than in a standard echocardiography.
The test takes about 10-15 minutes. The patient will be given an anaesthetic at the back of the throat to help the doctor insert the probe without any pain. Because of the sedative you will not be able to drive after the test is finished.
What is the average recovery time?
As a result of the anaesthesia and sedative you will need to rest and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for the following 24 hours. It may take you several hours to come round immediately following the procedure.
What are the benefits?
The consultant can recommend a transoesophageal echocardiogram because it produces qualitative and more detailed images of the heart than a standard echocardiogram. These will help the consultant diagnose you more accurately. It is also a better test for finding blood clots in the heart or investigating artificial heart valves.
How safe is it?
The procedure is safe and painless; there is only a feeling of discomfort. There might be some temporary side effects such as a sore throat or even a bit of bleeding in your throat due to the insertion of the ultrasound transducer. Complications that might appear are:
- Damage to your teeth
- Damage to the oesophagus
- Allergic reaction to the sedative