TEE is a highly effective diagnostic ultrasound test that allows a cardiologist to clearly view the heart through a small tube passed into the esophagus.

During the procedure, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves echo off of the heart structures.

The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves. TEE is especially useful when traditional echocardiograms are not able to provide enough information.

TEE can better visualize and assess these conditions of the heart:

  • Mitral valve disease
  • Blood clots or masses inside the heart
  • Dissection of the lining of the aorta
  • Implanted prosthetic heart valves

TEE may also be used during surgery to assess the cardiac status of patients with known cardiac disease undergoing non-cardiac procedures. It may also be used during heart surgery to evaluate the effects of surgical intervention.

How to receive a TEE test at Inova

Your cardiologist will evaluate if it is necessary and will order it for you.

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