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FAQs: Transoesophageal Echo (TOE)
What is a Transoesophogeal Echo (TOE)?

A standard Echo (echocardiogram) is an extremely useful diagnostic tool, though in certain circumstances this type of study may not adequate for the fine detail information your doctor is requiring. There may be limiting factors with a standard Echo study, as the technician must work around ribs and lungs, or a great distance to penetrate to view structures deep in your heart. The superior value of a TOE presents itself as an answer. The ultrasound transducer or probe is placed in the oesophagus or food pipe. This structure sits almost directly behind the heart and thus does not have the obstacles to traverse. The unique capability of the TOE offers a window to evaluate heart structures with exceptional precision. The principles of imaging are similar to an Echo study. Click here to learn more about Echos.


What should I expect?
How long will it take?
Where will it be done?

The TOE may be performed in the Hollywood Hospital or in our suite depending on your health cover, and our receptionist will direct you to the nominated location. When you are comfortable on the examination bed sticky dots or ECG electrodes are placed to the chest and shoulders and a blood pressure cuff will be placed on one arm. An oxygen line will be placed to your nose to make breathing a little easier for you during the procedure. The preparation continues with a mouth wash, very much like what is encountered at the dentist, and gargled to numb the back of the throat.

A consent form is then signed stating that you understand the benefit of the procedure and the small risk involved. The cardiologist will spend time explaining this to you and feel free to voice any concerns that you may have. A little medication to make you feel more comfortable and drowsy via an intravenous line will be used. This will make your memory a little hazy, so you might remember very little of the proceedings. You will be directed to swallow so the probe can be guided down easily and the information collected. The process will take roughly one and a half hours.

A little preparation is required on your behalf for the TOE procedure. A preparation fast of no food or drink for at least 5 hours will minimise any nausea associated with the medication. All dentures will need to be removed and stored. An arranged ride home, if required, should be made for you following a recovery period. You may feel good at this stage but it is highly recommended that you do not drive.

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