Medical Definition of Transesophageal echocardiography

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Transesophageal echocardiography: A diagnostic test, using a special probe placed within the esophagus, that employs ultrasound waves to make images of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding structures. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has unusually accurate imaging capabilities that permit the identification of previously unidentified anatomic features and surgical results that may necessitate a change in surgical plan or surgical revision before the patient leaves the operating suite. TEE is used to assess the anatomy and blood flow in congenital heart disease. TEE is used during surgery to evaluate the effects on the heart, for example, of the repair of a congenital heart defect. TEE can detect blood clots in the atrium and is therefore useful in guiding cardioversion (to normalize the heart rhythm) in patients with atrial fibrillation who are prone to form such clots.

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In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018