What is a Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)?
A transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE in the UK, or TEE if you are from the USA) is a test using ultrasound to produce moving images of your heart. It shows both the structure of your heart and how well it’s working.
This type of ultrasound can also be used as guide for a surgeon whilst undergoing heart surgery.
What happens during a TOE?
Your Cardiologist will pass an ultrasound probe into your oesophagus. Whilst you will be awake for this procedure, your doctor may give you a sedative to help you relax. The sedative will be given through a cannula in your arm.
You will most likely be asked not to eat for 6 hours and have only water until 2 hours before. After that you should have NOTHING to eat or drink.
Your Cardiologist will ask you to lie on your left-hand side on a bed. Your throat will be sprayed with local anaesthetic and a probe will be guided down your throat. Your consultant will ask you to swallow to help the probe into your oesophagus. The probe will send out sound waves and pick up returning echoes. These are converted into pictures of the inside of your heart and constantly updated on the monitor so the scan can show the movements.
Risks with a TOE
TOE is a safe procedure.
There are also a few complications with having this type of test including:
- Soreness in the throat- this is common and short lasting
- More rarely:
- Damage or tear of your oesophagus
- Allergic reaction to the sedative
- Inhaling the contents of your stomach during the test
Your Cardiologist at OneWelbeck Heart Health will take you through the details and any risks before your procedure.