What is a Transesophageal Echocardiogram?

A transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) is a type of echocardiogram that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the heart. Unlike a standard echocardiogram, which is performed on the outside of the chest, a TOE involves inserting a small probe into the oesophagus, which is located behind the heart.

Who is it for?

A TOE may be recommended for patients who have a suspected or confirmed heart condition, such as heart valve disease, atrial fibrillation, or diseases of the aorta. It may also be recommended for patients who are unable to undergo a standard echocardiogram due to factors such as obesity or lung disease.

What to expect on the day?

You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours prior to the procedure.

During the procedure, you will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the throat, and sedation to help relax. The cardiologist will then insert a small, flexible probe into the oesophagus through the mouth. The probe contains a transducer that emits sound waves, which bounce off the heart and produce images that can be viewed on a monitor.

The procedure takes approximately 30-60 minutes to complete. Afterward, you may experience a mild sore throat or discomfort in the chest area, which should resolve within a few hours.

A TOE is a safe and effective way to diagnose and monitor certain heart conditions.