Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)

A transoesophageal echocardiogram is an advanced ultrasound that creates images of your heart. Dr Sigauke uses a thin telescope called an endoscope with a transducer attached that travels down your oesophagus and captures images through ultrasonic sound waves.

What to expect during TOE

The imaging procedure for a transoesophageal echocardiogram only takes several minutes but may be uncomfortable. In this instance, Dr Sigauke may provide a sedative and local anaesthesia to make you more comfortable.

Dr Sigauke will prepare the endoscope with the transducer and gently place it into the back of your throat. He will adjust the endoscope during the procedure to allow the transducer to capture all angles of your heart. You may feel some slight pressure on your chest during this time.

The transducer is linked to a monitor that records images showing your heart's function and structure in detail. Dr Sigauke will explain the images in detail to you to ensure that you understand the state of your condition and heart health.

The benefits of a TOE

A transoesophageal echocardiogram is performed for many reasons and is typically more accurate and detailed than other forms of heart ultrasounds.

Dr Sigauke may request a TOE for some of the following reasons:

  • You have a health emergency or require critical care
  • Assessing if there are blood clots before a procedure or concluding that a surgery was successful
  • Managing or diagnosing heart conditions

Conditions affecting the cardiovascular system that a TOE can diagnose:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Blood clots
  • Pericardial disease
  • Tumours
  • Aneurysm

Are there any risks involved?

Your throat will be numb for a few hours after the procedure, and you may experience a sore throat in the days following the procedure.

Other less common symptoms include:

  • Heart rhythm issues
  • Blood pressure fluctuations
  • Minor bleeding
  • An allergic reaction