Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

What is a transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)?

A transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is an invasive but safe procedure that inserts a long, thin and flexible probe into the mouth and down the oesophagus (food tube).

TEE uses echocardiography, a technique that visualises the heart and its blood vessels using ultrasound waves. The resulting echocardiographic images allow your doctor to take a closer and clearer look at the valves of your heart and its chambers without interference from the chest wall.

Difference between transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) and transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

The difference between a TTE and TEE is explained below:

Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
More commonly used Less commonly used
Non-invasive Invasive
Visualisation of the heart structure may be blocked by scarring, excess body tissue or collapsed lung Better visualisation of the heart structure
No preparation needed Fasting is required 6 hours before the test
No anaesthetic required A local anaesthetic will be used to numb your throat
No sedative required A sedative will be given to help you relax
Usually takes less than an hour Can take up to an hour and a half
Can resume your normal daily activities immediately after Need to be kept under observation for a few hours before resuming normal daily activities

Your doctor will choose the type of echocardiogram you receive depending on the nature of your heart problem.

Why do you need a transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)?

Your doctor may request a TEE to:

  • Assess heart conditions including congenital heart diseases
  • Assess the success of previous heart procedures such as valve replacements and bypass surgeries
  • Evaluate a stroke or transient ischaemic attacks (TIA or mini-strokes) due to blood clots
  • Find valve problems such as infected heart valves (endocarditis)
  • See if blood is leaking backward through your heart valves (regurgitation) or if your valves are narrowed or blocked (stenosis)

TEE can detect blood clots, tumours and abnormal masses within the heart, which may not be seen properly using standard echocardiographic (TTE) images.

What are the risks and complications of a transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)?

After a transesophageal echocardiogram, you may have a sore throat afterwards for a few hours.

In rare instances, the tube may scrape the inside of your throat.

Your oxygen level will be monitored during the procedure in case of any breathing problems caused by the sedation medication.

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, we have built a reputation for quality cardiovascular care and treatment in Singapore and the region.

Our heart specialists leverage their skill and expertise in diagnostic tests like transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) to provide patients with effective heart treatments.

Our well-equipped hospital facilities and multidisciplinary medical team ensure that our heart patients get the care and focus they deserve during their procedure.

Our cardiologists

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, our specialists are experienced in performing diagnostic tests such as transoesophageal echocardiograms to diagnose problems in your heart's structure and function.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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