Transesophageal and Transthoracic Echocardiograms
An echocardiogram is an imaging procedure that uses ultrasound to visualize the heart. With this procedure, doctors can see the heart in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional view to assess structure, blood flow, valve abnormalities, defects, and cardiac output.
There are two types of echocardiography:
- Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
You may need an echocardiogram if you have:
- Abnormal EKG findings
- Assessment of blood flow through heart
- Cardiomyopathy, including dilated, restrictive, or hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM)
- Congenital heart defects, including:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (lack of oxygen in babies)
- Ventricle septal defect (VSD)
- Congestive heart failure
- Ejection fraction
- Endocarditis, an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart
- Heart murmur, which can be present in aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, or mitral regurgitation
- Structural abnormalities
Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) is the standard echocardiogram frequently used to get a generic picture of the heart. To do this procedure, a probe called an echocardiographic transducer is placed on the chest wall from the outside. Images are taken by moving the probe around to see different angles of the heart on a video monitor.
The TTE is completely noninvasive. A physician can quickly get an idea of the structure, valves, and flow through the heart.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is used to take clearer pictures of the heart in cases where there are questions with the transthoracic echocardiogram. In this procedure, the probe is placed into the esophagus while the patient is sedated. This method allows the probe to be closer to the heart without any other structures (ribs, lungs, or muscle) to interfere with the ultrasound. The aorta, valves, and pulmonary artery are better visualized with a TEE.
Request an Appointment
To schedule an appointment for an echocardiogram at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.