Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

TEE is extremely useful in detecting blood clots, masses and tumors that are located inside the heart. It can also gauge the severity of certain valve problems and help detect infection of heart valves, certain congenital heart diseases and a tear of the aorta. TEE is also very useful in evaluating patients who have had mini or major stokes as a result of blood clots. The procedure may detect the responsible clot inside the left atrium. How does TEE differ from a standard ECHO? The echo transducer is placed in the esophagus or food pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach. Since the esophagus sits behind the heart, the echo beam does not have to travel through the front of the chest, avoiding many of the obstacles. It offers a much clearer image of the heart, particularly, the back structures, such as the left atrium, which may not be seen as well by a standard echo taken from the front of the heart.