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This is an endoscopic echocardiogram. This means that the ultrasound equipment is placed on the end of a long flexible instrument for an internal view. It enables the doctor to take a close look at the heart, bypassing the lungs and ribs which obstruct the external view.

It is performed in the catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab) by a cardiologist and cardiac team. It can be performed independently or as part of a larger procedure. It takes approximately 45 minutes. The patient will be given a sedative or general anaesthetic and will remain asleep or relaxed throughout.

The thin lubricated endoscope is inserted down the patient’s throat into the oesophagus and stomach. From there, images of the heart are obtained. The patient is monitored throughout the procedure and recovery time.

A TOE gives more detailed pictures of your heart than those from a transthoracic echocardiogram which takes external ultrasound images.

  • You will be moved to a recovery area, where nurses will monitor your heart rate, ECG, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.
  • When your gag reflex has returned, your vital signs are stable, and you are more alert, the ECG electrode pads, the oxygen probe, and the IV will be removed. You may get dressed.
  • You may feel weak, tired, or groggy for the rest of the day of the test. You should feel normal by the day after the procedure. Your throat may be sore for a few days after the procedure due to the insertion of the TEE probe.
  • If the procedure was done on an outpatient basis, you may be discharged home, unless your healthcare provider determines that your condition requires further observation or hospital admission.
  • You will need to have someone drive you home.
  • You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your healthcare provider advises you differently.
  • Generally, there is no special type of care following a TEE. However, your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.