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Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography

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Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography machine.
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Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography - An Overview

Unfolding the mysteries of the heart's structure and function, the Echocardiogram, or TOE, is a specialised cardiac ultrasound technique. Armed with a unique feature called Doppler Echocardiography, it can effectively gauge blood flow and pressures within the heart.

In a Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE), a compact handheld device - the probe - is placed over the chest, visualising and assessing the heart's structure and function with remarkable accuracy.

Taking a step further into specialised care, the Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is only performed by specially trained cardiologists like Dr Karthigesan. This 30 to 60-minute procedure, generally conducted in a hospital setting, involves passing a transducer through the mouth into the oesophagus, situated behind the heart. The transducer projects images onto a monitor, offering visual clarity surpassing that of TTE and facilitating the diagnosis of certain cardiac conditions.

At Dr Karthigesan's clinic, we don't just perform echocardiograms - we provide an in-depth exploration of your heart, guided by expertise and driven by compassion. Join us on a journey towards superior cardiac health and experience the difference that expert care can make.

The backside image of a medical professional operating and monitoring an echocardiography machine.
Decorative red spiral.Decorative blue spiral.
A close-up image of a medical professional operating an echocardiography access panel.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram - Conditions Treated

A Transthoracic or Transesophageal Echocardiogram plays a pivotal role in diagnosing a broad range of cardiac conditions. The procedure may be recommended to evaluate signs and symptoms that could indicate:

  • Arterial blockages located in the heart, neck, abdomen, and other areas.
  • Congenital heart defects-abnormalities present from birth.
  • Atrial Fibrillation, a condition of irregular heart rhythm.
  • Coronary Artery Disease, a condition characterised by plaque buildup in the heart's arteries.
  • Damage resulting from a prior heart attack.
  • Cardiomyopathy, a disease that makes it hard for the heart to pump blood to the body.
  • Heart failure, a condition where the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should.
  • Pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure in the arteries to your lungs.
  • Heart valve problems that may affect blood flow.

Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography - What to Expect

No specific preparations are necessary for a Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE). You may continue to eat, drink, and take any prescribed medications prior to the test.

However, for a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE), you will be provided detailed instructions, which typically include:

  • Abstaining from eating and drinking at least six hours before the test.
  • Continuing to take your usual medications.
  • Avoiding drinks containing alcohol.

The TTE procedure, lasting approximately an hour, involves the following steps:

  • Small patches, called electrodes, will be affixed to your chest to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
  • A special gel will be applied to your skin to aid in transmitting sound.
  • A transducer, akin to a microphone, will be pressed against your skin and manoeuvred around. This device both sends sound waves and captures the echoes.
  • You may be asked to hold still, adjust your position, or alter your breathing patterns to secure different or enhanced images.

The TEE procedure encompasses these steps:

  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart’s electrical activity.
  • A blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter will be attached to check your blood pressure and oxygen levels.
  • To numb your throat, you'll gargle with a specific solution and receive a sedative through an IV for relaxation.
  • A nasal cannula may be used to provide oxygen.
  • The doctor will gently guide an endoscope, a long, thin, flexible tube with a transducer at its tip, into your mouth, down your throat, and into your oesophagus.
  • They will capture images, a process that takes about 10 to 15 minutes, before removing the tube.

Typically, there's no special care needed following a TTE/TEE. However, your doctor may provide additional instructions based on your individual circumstances.

Decorative red spiral.Decorative green rectangle.Decorative blue rectangle.Decorative honey comb image for bottom left.

Made Effortless

Get to the heart of your health with a transesophageal echocardiogram and transthoracic echocardiogram at Dr Karthigesan Clinic, Chennai.

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