The procedure is undertaken as a day stay procedure in hospital and is performed under sedation.
Unlike a standard transthoracic echocardiogram, the ultrasound transducer lies within a thin tube that passes through your mouth and into your oesophagus. Because the oesophagus is so close to the upper chambers of the heart (located just behind your heart), very clear images of heart structures can be obtained.
The test is often used to undertake a detailed assessment of heart valve function, to exclude rare causes of stroke, and sometimes to ensure a clot is not seen in the heart chambers prior to electrical cardioversion for rhythm disturbances, such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
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