A transoesophageal echocardiogram is a type of test for your heart. It helps your doctor to see the structure of your heart and how well it’s working. Your doctor may use it to check for different problems in your heart. They can also use it to monitor you during a heart operation. Find out more in our section, About transoesophageal echocardiogram.
You will usually be awake during a transoesophageal echocardiogram. You’ll have a local anaesthetic to numb your throat, but it won’t make you go to sleep. You may also have a sedative. This can make you feel relaxed and sleepy. For more information, read our Preparation section.
A transoesophageal echocardiogram involves having an ultrasound probe passed down your throat. This takes images of your heart from inside your body. It can feel a bit uncomfortable swallowing the probe but it shouldn’t be painful because your throat will be numb. You can read more on what to expect in our Procedure section.
A doctor or a sonographer can perform a transoesophageal echocardiogram. A sonographer is a technician who has been specially trained in carrying out procedures with ultrasound.
In a standard transthoracic echocardiogram, your doctor or sonographer moves an ultrasound probe over your chest to take the scan. In a transoesophageal echocardiogram, the probe is placed down your oesophagus, which is close to the back of your heart. This means that the pictures are clearer than those of a transthoracic echocardiogram. This enables your doctor to diagnose certain problems with greater accuracy.
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