It is the policy of Cardio Vascular Services (CVS) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its clients and maintain a standard above the guidelines set by the Australian and New Zealand Cardiac Society.
What is a Transoesophageal Echocardiographic Study?
A transoesophageal echocardiographic study (TOE) is a semi-invasive test performed by placing an ultrasound probe in your oesophagus (food pipe) which lies next to the back of the heart.
What is the test used for?
It evaluates heart chamber size and pumping action, valve appearance and function and the blood flow through the heart.
A TOE is necessary when surface ultrasound images are inadequate to provide the high detail information required for your physician.
What does the test involve?
The TOE study uses a similar method as looking down into the stomach (endoscopy).
All dentures are removed prior to the procedure, and you will be fitted with a mouth guard to protect the teeth and the ultrasound probe.
The back of your throat is numbed with a local anesthetic.
ECG electrodes are then attached to your chest and a BP cuff is placed on your arm to monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure throughout the test.
You will be administered oxygen continuously during the procedure and a small finger probe will be attached to measure the oxygen level in your blood.
Finally a small needle will be placed in your arm to allow intravenous access for medication which will sedate you. The medication will make you very drowsy and you will not remember the procedure once complete.
To assist you in regaining alertness, sedative reversal medication may be administered.
Once you are awake the needle is taken out of your arm and you will remain resting for a minimum of two hours prior to leaving the premises.
You are not permitted to drive yourself home.
What are the risks?
While every effort is made to minimise the risks of the procedure, there is a very small but definite number of complications which you should be aware of.
Minor side effects resulting from this test include a sore throat, nausea, vomiting, agitation, involuntary muscle movements, minor heart rhythm disturbances, minor bleeding, drowsiness and amnesia. These are usually temporary and should disappear within 24 hours following the test. Please inform us if these symptoms do not subside after a 24 hour period.
Serious potential procedural complications are extremely rare but include the possibility of tear or abrasion of the oesophagus. The medication used can lead to depressed or cessation of breathing, major disturbance of heart rhythm requiring resuscitation or allergic reaction to the medication. From these complications arises the very small risk of mortality occurring.
The doctor performing the test is well aware of these risks and will have taken them into account before deciding to commence and stop the test. Please note that emergency equipment and trained personnel are available to deal with any complications that may arise.
Reports are provided to your referring doctor within two to three working days, if you wish to obtain a copy please ask permission from your referring doctor.