Transesophageal echocardiogram is used to evaluate the internal heart structures and path of blood flow in congenital (present at birth) heart disease. TEE is also used during heart surgery to evaluate the effects of surgical intervention to the heart, such as repair of congenital heart disease.
When echo is indicated, but other circumstances (such as pulmonary disease) that may interfere with the ability to obtain adequate images are present, a transesophageal echocardiogram may be more appropriate. Further, certain conditions of the heart, such as mitral valve disease, blood clots or masses inside the heart, dissection (tear) of the lining of the aorta (the artery which carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body), and implanted prosthetic (artificial) heart valves may be better visualized and assessed with TEE than with regular echocardiograms.
Depending on the results of the TEE, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.
Intracardiac echocardiography, a new form of echo, places a tiny echo probe on the end of a catheter. This catheter is put in the heart, giving the team pictures of the heart from the inside. Intracardiac echos are primarily used in cardiac catheterization.