Transesophageal Heart Ultrasound is a type of ultrasound where a miniature camera is passed down the esophagus, or food pipe, behind the heart. This allows the doctor to obtain very high quality moving pictures and helps the doctor evaluate the function and see small detailed structures of the heart and associated vessels. You may be asked to gargle with an anesthetic to help numb the throat so that you will not feel discomfort when the camera is passed down the esophagus. An anesthetic spray may also be used to assure that the gag reflex is suppressed. Once your throat is numb, a sedative may be given to you through an IV to minimize your discomfort and help you to relax during the exam. This ultrasound uses the same technology that allows doctors to see an unborn baby inside a pregnant mother.
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