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Definition of Transesophageal echocardiography

Transesophageal echocardiography: A diagnostic test, using a special probe placed within the esophagus, that employs ultrasound waves to make images of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding structures. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has unusually accurate imaging capabilities that permit the identification of previously unidentified anatomic features and surgical results that may necessitate a change in surgical plan or surgical revision before the patient leaves the operating suite. TEE is used to assess the anatomy and blood flow in congenital heart disease. TEE is used during surgery to evaluate the effects on the heart, for example, of the repair of a congenital heart defect. TEE can detect blood clots in the atrium and is therefore useful in guiding cardioversion (to normalize the heart rhythm) in patients with atrial fibrillation who are prone to form such clots.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=26563
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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