Esophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) is used to take a closer look at the upper chambers of the heart. Esophagus and left atrium are really close, they almost touch each other, which is by the way the reason why atrial fibrillation, PACs and other atrial arrhythmias can in some cases be triggered by drinking cold water or eating ice cream. Doctors sometimes register transesoplageal electrocardiography (esophageal EKG) to diagnose atrial arrhythmias.
I would assume your diagnosis is atrial septum defect. I think you need to do this test before surgery, yes, but ask your doctor.
I think sedation before the procedure is common but you should be awake. The test is really not a big deal I think, even if it sounds uncomfortable.
Q: Is it done with anesthesia and is it necessary before surgery for closing a hole in the heart?
.....Usually a TEE procedure provides a better perspective and is done to determine the size of a patch to close the hole and in some instances, anesthesia is needed for the TEE to be performed. My treating hospital has a member of the medical group that administers the anethesia. Success of the anethesia would be the patient not being aware during the evaluation nor remember the procedure.
Thanks for your question, and if you have any further questions or comments you are welcome to respond. Take care,
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