The images generated from a TOE will help your Consultant to see:
- The size of your heart and how thick its walls are.
- How well your heart is pumping.
- If there is abnormal tissue around your heart valves.
- If blood is leaking backwards through your heart valves (regurgitation).
- If your valves are narrowed or blocked (stenosis).
- If blood clots are present in the chambers of your heart, in particular the upper chamber.
- This procedure usually lasts between 30 - 60 minutes.
- You will receive some sedation to help you relax.
- Electrodes will be attached to your chest and connected to an ECG machine to monitor your heart beat.
- Your mouth and throat are numbed with local anaesthetic spray to suppress the gag reflex and to make it easier to swallow the ultrasound device.
- Once the device is in position, it will send sound-waves to your heart and collect the echoes that bounce back. The echos will then become images that show up on a video screen, allowing your Consultant to view all areas of your heart.
- When the Consultant is finished taking pictures of the heart, the probe is removed slowly and the electrodes are disconnected.
Following the procedure:
- Observation is continued until the effects of the sedation and local anaesthetic have worn off.
- You cannot eat or drink anything for at least 2 hours after the test as the back of your throat will still be numb.
- When you have sufficiently recovered you will be given a light snack.
- Following sedation you must not drive, operate a machine, make important decisions or drink alcohol until the next day.
- You must be collected on discharge, as you are not allowed to drive or travel home unaccompanied following sedation.