Transoesophageal Echocardiogram

What is TOE?

Sometimes adequate pictures of the heart cannot be obtained with a standard
echocardiogram. A transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) is another
means of obtaining detailed ultrasound pictures of the heart by looking at
the heart from inside the oesophagus (food pipe).


The procedure is straightforward but please do not have anything to eat six hours before your procedure. You may drink water for up to two hours before your procedure.

What to expect

The procedure is performed by a cardiologist. You will be asked to lie _at on an examination couch. You will be given some medication through a drip in a vein in your arm that will make you feel sleepy and relaxed. A liquid local anaesthetic will be sprayed into the back of your mouth. You will then be asked to swallow a flexible tube, which is positioned into the oesophagus (food pipe).
The procedure will take approximately 15 minutes and you will be monitored for a further 1-2 hours after the procedure before being discharged.
You will require someone to drive you home. As you will have received a sedative which impairs your reflexes and judgement, it is important that for 12 hours afterwards you:

  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery
  • Do not sign legally binding documents
  • Do not drink alcohol