Like an echocardiogram, a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is an exam that creates images of the heart to help evaluate certain conditions and diseases of the heart.
Unlike an echocardiogram, which is completed from outside the body, TEE is performed with a probe inserted into the esophagus. A transducer at the end of the probe sends out ultrasonic sound waves that "echo" off of the heart, creating an image of the muscle that the transducer sends to a computer for analysis.
The picture available through the esophagus is much clearer than a traditional echo because there is less skin, bone and muscle to navigate. For example, a physician cannot view the aorta on a traditional echo, yet a surgeon can view a clear picture of the aorta with a TEE.
Through the use of a TEE, physicians at Montefiore Medical Center can detect blood clots, masses and tumors inside the heart. This is helpful in detecting a clot responsible for a patient's stroke.
In addition, TEE can also help determine the severity of certain heart valve problems, including the detection of any infections. The exam can also detect certain congenital heart diseases.
Follow-up treatments will be determined based on the exam results.