Transesophageal Echocardiogram

Explanation of the Test

This test is designed to give your doctor more information about the working of your heart.

A long probe is inserted through the mouth and down the esophagus. A small transducer at the end of the probe sends out high frequency sound waves (ultrasound). These sound waves bounce off heart structures and are received by the transducer. The sound waves, which cannot be heard, are used to form a picture of your heart as it beats. This picture is then displayed on a TV monitor and recorded on videotape as well as paper to create a permanent record.

During the test, you will be asked to lie on your side. Your throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to numb it and you will be given a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in the arm to help you relax. Antibiotics may also be given to help prevent infection. As you swallow, the doctor will slowly insert the probe into your mouth. You may gag a little when the probe first enters but the procedure generally is not painful.


  • Abstain from food after midnight prior to the test. Medications with sips of water are appropriate.
  • Abstain from food, drink or medications 1 ½ hours after completing the test.
  • Arrange for a ride home after the test. You may feel drowsy up to several hours after the test.

General Information

  • The test takes about 1 ½ hours.
  • You should continue to take your regular medications, unless told to do otherwise by your physician for another test.
  • There is no radiation (x-ray) involved with this test.
  • Any further questions about the test may be answered by your physician.
  • The results will be sent to your doctor within 24 hours from when the test is performed.
  • If you are unable to keep your appointment or will be late, please call the Heart Station at 773-665-3187 as far in advance as possible.
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