Transesophageal Echo

Purpose of The Test

A transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a semi-invasive procedure. It is used to take two-dimensional pictures of the heart and its surrounding structures.

Patient Instructions


  • Do not eat for 6 hours before the test.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin, ask your primary care doctor about your diet before the test.


  • Take all medicine as directed. Bring them with you to this test.
  • Do not take anticoagulation therapy (i.e., coumadin) the morning of the test. You will have a blood test before your TEE.

Test Time

  • Plan for 4 to 5 hours.

The Test

  • We will ask you to sign a consent form giving us the go-ahead to do the test.
  • Once in the test room, you will lie down on a table or bed. Usually, we will place you on your left side with your head slightly elevated.
  • We will insert an intravenous line (IV) into your arm or hand.
  • You will receive a mild sedative through the IV to increase comfort and decrease anxiety. We will use topical anesthetic on the back of your throat.
  • We will monitor your blood pressure, heart rhythm and oxygen level.
  • If you wear dentures, you will need to remove them before the test.
  • We will place a thin probe into your mouth. You may experience a cough or gag sensation. We will ask you to swallow the probe.
  • The probe will travel down the esophagus to the level of the heart. We will then talk you through the rest of the test.
  • The test takes 15-30 minutes.

After the Test

  • In the recovery area, a nurse will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and return of your swallowing reflex.
  • You may feel a mild sore throat. This is temporary and will go away.
  • Do not drive for 12 hours after the procedure.
  • Recovery time is 24 hours.