HOW IS AN ECHO PERFORMED?
During an echo examination, you will have to lie on a bed after removing the clothing from your upper body. ECG electrodes are attached to your arms and legs. The echo is performed with the help of a transducer which the doctor holds in his hand and applies to your chest. By touching this transducer to the chest and varying the angles and inclinations of the transducer, the doctor can 'look' into the various chambers of the heart and get invaluable information about its condition. An echo test takes about 15-30 minutes to perform and is absolutely painless.
WHAT IS A TRANSEOSOPHAGEAL ECHO (TEE)?
In the normal echo examination the transducer is placed on the chest. In this way the doctor 'sees' the heart from the front. In a TEE examination, the transducer is advanced on a tube through the throat into the oesophagus (food pipe) similar to a gastroscopy, so that the doctor can look into the heart from its back. This allows certain portions of the heart to be examined in better detail than an ordinary echo. The TEE gives more information than a routine echo but is more tedious to perform. Therefore it is used only when an ordinary echo test cannot give the physician all the information he desires.
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