A transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the heart from inside the oesophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach). Here is some information that may be helpful for patients undergoing a TOE:
The purpose of a TOE is to get a better view of the heart than is possible with a standard echocardiogram. A TOE can help detect problems such as blood clots, valve abnormalities, and holes in the heart.
Patients will need to fast for several hours before the procedure to prevent vomiting or aspiration during the test. Patients should also inform their healthcare provider of any medications they are taking.
During the procedure, a healthcare provider will insert a flexible tube (endoscope) with a small ultrasound probe at the end through the mouth and down the esophagus to the back of the heart. The probe will create images of the heart that can be viewed on a monitor.
The procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes to complete.
TOE is generally considered safe, but there is a small risk of complications such as bleeding, infection, or damage to the esophagus or other organs.
Patients may experience some throat discomfort or a sore throat after the procedure, but this typically goes away within a few days. Patients will usually be monitored for a short period after the procedure before being discharged.
It’s important for patients to discuss any questions or concerns they may have about TOE with their healthcare provider. Patients should also inform their healthcare provider if they experience any new symptoms or changes in their condition after the procedure.