An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create high quality pictures of the heart and its blood vessels.
A TOE is a special echocardiogram your Cardiologist uses to get a better look at your heart from inside your body. This is done by placing a tube with an ultrasound probe into your oesophagus (the passage leading from your mouth to your stomach).
From this position, the sound waves have a more direct path to your heart. This allows your doctor to get a more detailed view of your heart and its blood vessels.
The test is used to detect and assess blood clots, disease of the aorta, infection in the heart and heart valve malfunctions. Your doctor may recommend a TOE to help diagnose such a disease or condition.
The most common problem during a TOE is minor throat discomfort while the probe is passing through your oesophagus.
Your throat might be sore for a few days after the test, which is normal. In rare cases, the probe used during a TOE can cause minor throat injuries such as perforation or bleeding.
Your doctor will discuss the risks with you.
You may have a sore throat following the TOE. You shouldn’t eat or drink for 30 to 60 minutes afterward. Once all feeling and your gag reflex have returned you may have sips of water. Most people can resume their normal activities within 24 hours of the test.
Your Cardiologist will visit you when you are fully awake to discuss the results of the procedure. In most circumstances, you will be discharged after a few hours.
You will need someone to take you home after the procedure. Due to the medication given during the procedure you will not be allowed to drive or use heavy machinery for 24 hours following your TOE.
If you have further questions regarding this procedure, please ask your nurse or doctor for clarification.
In some cases patients may require contrast to enhance the quality and clarity of their echo pictures. The charge for contrast is not rebateable by Medicare or healthfunds. The price for contrast is at cost. Should you require contrast or would like to know what the charge would be, please contact our reception staff.
Providing invasive & non-invasive cardiovascular services to patients in Far North Queensland, PNG, and the Torres Strait Islands