Echocardiography is an imaging test. It uses sound waves to make detailed moving pictures of the heart. It shows the size and shape of the heart, as well as the heart chambers and valves. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) uses a device that is placed in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube leading from the throat to the stomach. It is located behind the heart in the chest. TEE may be used when certain pictures of the heart are needed.
The other type of echocardiography is called transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). This test uses a device that is moved across the outside of the chest. TEE can give better images than transthoracic echocardiography.
Most echocardiography is 2-D. Two views of the heart are used to create the images. Other types include:
Echocardiography is one of the most important imaging tests for heart problems in infants and children. It may help diagnose problems your child was born with (congenital). It can also help diagnose problems that have developed (acquired). Below are reasons for having echocardiography.
TEE may also be used during procedures such as heart catheterization or heart surgery.
TEE may be done at a hospital or at an imaging facility. It takes about an hour to do the test. The steps are as follows:
Your child will be watched after the TEE until the sedative wears off. His or her blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen will be checked. Since the probe is passed through the throat, your child might have a sore throat.
A pediatric cardiologist will look at the results of the TEE. Depending on the results, your child may need other tests or procedures.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure for your child make sure you know: