Our Health Topics

Transesophageal Echocardiography

  • Transesophageal echocardiography is a technique that uses a small ultrasound probe placed into a child’s esophagus to closely evaluate the heart and blood vessels within the chest.

    • Transesophageal echocardiography is also called a TEE.
    • It obtains a clearer image than a regular echocardiogram because sound waves don’t have to pass through skin, muscle or bone tissue.
    • It’s often used during heart surgery to evaluate the effects of surgical intervention to the heart.

    Contact Us

    Heart Center
    Boston Children's Hospital
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115
    617-355-4278

  • What is transesophageal echocardiography? 

    Transesophageal echocardiography is a technique that uses a small ultrasound probe placed into a child’s esophagus to closely evaluate the heart and blood vessels within the chest. 

    Echocardiography is a procedure used to assess the heart's function and structures through the use of sound waves.

    How does transesophageal echocardiography work?

    A transducer (similar to a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard.

    When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves "echo" off of the heart structures.

    The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves. 

    Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) uses a probe with a transducer on the end that is guided through the throat and into the esophagus while your child is sedated. The TEE transducer works the same as the one used in a regular echocardiogram. A clearer image can be obtained, however, because the sound waves don’t have to pass through skin, muscle or bone tissue.

    Why is a transesophageal echocardiogram performed? 

    TEE is used to evaluate the internal heart structures and path of blood flow in congenital (present at birth) heart defects.

    TEE is often used during heart surgery to evaluate the effects of surgical intervention to the heart, such as repair of congenital heart defects. It also can be used in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory to assist with procedures such as a device closure of certain heart defects. 

    When an echocardiogram is necessary, but there are other circumstances (such as pulmonary disease) that may interfere with the ability to obtain adequate images, a TEE may be more appropriate.

    Also, certain heart conditions, such as mitral valve disease, blood clots or masses inside the heart, dissection (tear) of the lining of the aorta or implanted prosthetic (artificial) heart valves may be better visualized and assessed with TEE than with regular echocardiograms.  TEE is often done to evaluate for blood clots in the heart prior to cardioversion or ablation procedures.

    Depending on the results of the TEE, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fieldsThis department is currently not accepting appointment requests onlineThis department is currently not accepting appointment requests online

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
More optionsSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Visitor Information
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close