Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
Transesophageal and Transthoracic Echocardiograms
UT Southwestern Medical Center offers both transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to visualize the heart and evaluate its structure and function.
TTE enables our heart doctors to see the heart in two dimensions, while TEE produces a three-dimensional view.
Using Sound Waves to See the Heart
An echocardiogram (echo) is a cardiovascular imaging study that uses ultrasound to visualize the heart. Echocardiography allows doctors to see the heart in two or three dimensions to evaluate its structure, function, blood flow, and output and look for abnormalities and defects.
There are two types of echocardiograms:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): Noninvasive, commonly used, standard echocardiogram
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): Minimally invasive study used to better visualize the aorta, valves, and pulmonary artery when there are questions about the TTE images
UT Southwestern’s experienced cardiologists use echocardiograms to carefully diagnose and guide the treatment of a variety of heart disorders.
Conditions We Diagnose with EchocardiogramAn echocardiography study might be appropriate for patients diagnosed with or suspected of having conditions such as:
- Abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) findings
- Problems with blood flow through the heart
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- Congenital heart conditions such as:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Ventricle septal defect (VSD)
- Congestive heart failure
- Abnormal ejection fraction
- Endocarditis, an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart
- Heart murmur, which can indicate aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, or mitral regurgitation
- Structural abnormalities
What to Expect
Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
An echocardiography technician places an external probe (echocardiographic transducer) on the patient’s chest wall. The technician takes images by moving the transducer around to see different angles of the heart on a video monitor.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
An echocardiography technician places a transducer probe down the throat into the esophagus while the patient is sedated. TEE allows the ultrasound probe to get close to the heart without interference from the ribs, lungs, or chest muscles.
UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.
Clinical TrialsAs one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.
Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.