It is very rare that this test is needed. It is a special form of echocardiogram where the ultrasound probe is on a tube like an endoscope that the patient swallows. This is done under sedation with a local anaesthetic spray at the back of the mouth. Most patients tolerate the procedure well
Advantages-the probe in the swallowing tube (oesophagus) is much nearer the cardiac valves which are at the back of the heart. Consequently, the images of the heart valves are much clearer.
- To assess the valves if infection of the valves, endocarditis, is being considered or to assess damage to the valves if endocarditis has been diagnosed.
- To assess the structure of the valves or degree of leaking of the valves
- To assist in catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation