View Full Version : Transthoracic Echo - Any information on this test
07-16-2005, 11:18 AM
:) Morning Everyone:
Its a great day in Peterborough, hot and dry. I have a meeting at the HCM cardiac clinic in Toronto and I have a transthoracic echo booked.
Questions: What is this test. What is the difference between this and the normal echo. Why would I have this test, would not the MRI I had in June give a true indication of what is happening with the heart.
Any, have a great weekend.
07-16-2005, 11:23 AM
I can tell you i had one and was knocked out it is not bad and they can get a better look at things is what they told me and after mine is when i was told i needed the myectomy, i hope things turn out good for you, please let us know what they say ok
07-16-2005, 02:43 PM
A transthoracic echo is the "normal" type of echocardiogram and really is painless and non-intrusive.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) uses a probe put down the throat and typically involves anesthesia. I believe Shirley described a TEE. A TEE is used to image parts of the heart usually blocked from the "normal" echo view.
In my case the cardiac MRI wasn't of very good quality because of the my "irregularly irregular" heartbeat and the echo results provided the primary diagnostic images. I believe there may be things that an echo can easily measure or examine that might not be available from the MRI--perhaps others can chime in with better info.
Hope this helps.
07-16-2005, 02:58 PM
Rob is correct in that the transthoracic is normal/regular --outside the chest and the TEE is inside.
A regular echo is totally painless and they just run the roller-ball probe over your chest to get views of your heart.
It is standard to have an ECHO as part of a cardiac workup. The MRIs are actually very new and I've never even had one except b/c I got to be part of a research project (and I've had almost everything!).
They may have ordered the echo as a reflex or there may be info they need that the MRI couldn't tell them. You would have to ask Toronto what the deal is. You can refuse it if you want to, but as long as you have insurance, it couldn't hurt anything.
The TEE is commonly ordered to inspect the Atrial Appendage to hunt down nasty blood clots that seem to hide in there. Those of us with AFib are prone to this problem if INR levels aren’t maintained at a high enough level. No other imaging process can seem to find these particular clots. The esophagus actually provides a camera angle which is behind the heart and can see the appendage.
I have had this test done on three separate occasions, was fully conscious and only numbed in the back of the throat. It is not the most pleasant experience out there, but not terribly uncomfortable. I was told on the first two tests that a clot was detected. Finally on the third test they described what they were seeing as “smoke” and decided it was only pooling blood and not clotted blood.
07-16-2005, 03:56 PM
My cardio also referred to seeing "smoke" in the echo done after I'd (somewhat stupidly) decided to just stop taking coumadin. Must be an "industry standard" term :) I guess it's a warning sign for clotting conditions.
07-16-2005, 06:13 PM
Mine was like Boz describes. Not intolerable but I did not like it one bit. I was very awake as they never give me anything much to knock me out because of my sleep apnea. The 2nd one was done when they were ready to do my myectomy. They were able to get the best measurements of my septum with the TEE. Sometimes the "windows" = spaces between the ribs, are too close and the standard echo( trans thoracic) does not show the true measurements. My windows are very tight and close.
07-16-2005, 07:42 PM
Do not even talk to me about TEEs. My local hospital (a nationally respected teaching hospital) botched it so bad that they had to give me 7 shots of Versed and I lost 7 hours of the day. I "woke up" (Versed destroys your memory but doesn't make you unconscious) and couldn't talk or swallow, my throat was so swollen. I took my pills with applesauce --sauce, not juice-- because it was the only thing that would go down--I literally could not swallow water. My throat was raw for days.
When I went to the Mayo, they -of course- were able to conduct two perfect TEEs. After the first one, I would not have known that I'd had anything done unless you told me. The second one was with a doctor who didn't believe in using as much dope as the first and my throat felt a little scratched, but very minor.
But I've so many regular echos now that I practically put the electrodes on myself! :shock: :D
07-16-2005, 10:04 PM
Sorry about the confusion Norman I thought you had typed TEE Sorry Man
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