1. What is a transoesophageal echocardiogram?

This is a special type of heart ultrasound. Pictures of the heart are taken from inside the body. This procedure gives better quality pictures of the heart.

A needle with a tube connected to it will be put in your arm. This is called an intravenous line or IV.

The equipment that takes the pictures is called the ‘ultrasound probe’. The probe is put into the mouth and it passes down to the oesophagus. The doctor will see the back of the heart from this position.

You will have the following procedure:

The back of your throat will be sprayed with a local anaesthetic, which will make it easier to swallow the ultrasound probe. The probe will be in place for about 15 minutes until the test is completed. At the end of the test, the probe will be removed. Your throat will feel numb after the test. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for two hours after the test or until the numbness goes away.

  1. My anaesthetic

This investigation will require an anaesthetic.

  1. What are the risks of this specific procedure?

In recommending this procedure your doctor has balanced the benefits and risks of the procedure against the benefits and risks of not proceeding. Your doctor believes there is a net benefit to you going ahead.

There are risks and complications with this investigation. They include but are not limited to the following.

Common risks and complications (more than 5%) include:

  • Sore throat for a day or two afterwards.

Uncommon risks and complications (1 – 5%) include:

  • Damage to your teeth or jaw due to the presence of instruments in your mouth.
  • Tear in the oesophagus, which usually settles without treatment.

Rare risks and complications (less than 1%) include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat, that usually settles without treatment.
  • Breathing problems. You may need medication to treat this.
  • Oesophageal perforation. This may need surgery to repair.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is extremely rare.
  1. Before your procedure
  • Do not eat a heavy meal, drink alcohol or smoke for 6 hours prior to your procedure.
  • Take your usual medication with a small sip of water, unless your doctor has advised otherwise. Bring a list of your medications to the hospital.
  • Follow any additional instructions given to you by your doctor/hospital.

The following will be performed:

A needle with a tube connected to it will be put in your arm. This is called an intravenous line or IV.

The back of your throat will be sprayed with a local anaesthetic. This will make it easier to swallow the ultrasound probe, which will be in your oesophagus for about 15 minutes until the test is completed.

At the end of the test, the probe will be removed. Your throat will feel numb after the test. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for two hours after the test or until the numbness goes away