A TEE is a Trans Esophogeal Echocardiogram. A thin tube with a small something or other (sorry) at the end of it is put down the throat into the stomach and sits directly behind the heart. The echocardiogram can then be done getting an excellent view of the heart valves. This gives the doctors a much better and more accurate view of what is going on with the valves, including which leaflet of the valve is damaged or leaking.
This is done in the hospital in the out-patient department. First they have you gargle with a very thick gloppy liquid that serves to numb your throat. They will give you a relaxing sedative through your IV. Many people actually fall asleep. Those who remain awake say they were in a "twighlight" kind of state and not bothered by the procedure at all. Then they introduce the thin tubing down your throat and into your stomach and proceed to take the pictures via the echocardiogram. Then the tube is removed. It takes about 15 - 20 minutes.
Because I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks I asked to be put to sleep and the doctor obliged. Almost all people have this done without being put completely to sleep. It is easy to get you to sleep since all they have to do is give you a little more of the IV medication and you stay asleep.
I remember hearing the doctor and technician talking about the views while the TEE was being done, then I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep. I started to wake up just as they were removing the tubing and I felt the tube come up and out, but no pain whatsoever!!! I am sure it is not necessary for most people to be asleep. I just happen to have "issues."
The video from the TEE is put on a disk just like a regular echocardiogram so your cardiologist can view it. The TEE is used to make a definite diagnosis. My regular echo showed a prolapsed mitral valve with severe regurgitation. The TEE showed that it was the anterior leaflet of my mitral valve that was causing the problem and also showed an "eccentric jet" . . . the regurgitant blood that was flowing backwards into atrium. So you can see how much more efficient the TEE is. A TEE is always done before a determination for surgery is made.
TEE (TransEsophogeal (sp?) Echocardiogram). They put a transponder down the throat into the esophogus..maybe all the way into the stomach. The transponder here is closer to the heart. Also,it doesn't the sternum and other body material to go through, so the TEE shows a better depiction of the heart. Probably Wikepedia, or such, would give a better explanation. Mine was a piece of cake. ..Barry Stone
When I had my first cath (I remember when the nurse asked me if it was my first time...geeezzze, I thought, this means there are more to come...anyway...young Dr Cavanaugh, my cardiologist, when he told me the only way to know for sure if I had serious coronary artery placque issues was to do an angiogram, told me it was my choice whether or not to be put out during the procedure. He wanted to do this because I had reported very slight sensations in my left chest area while biking Spooner Pass at Lake Tahoe, and then near our mtn home on another hill. He said, a lesson, atheletes (flattered me to be called one) can mask the results on a stress test. He pointed out there are no nerve endings in the arteries (for that matter, in the veins if they go through the veins) and I wouldn't feel anything, except for the puncture of the skin when they insert the catheter into my femoral artery. Of course, a local is used where the puncture is made. So, I elected not to be put out and got to watch the screen as the doctor doing the procedure navigated through the cardiac arteries, see the angioplasty done, and see the stent inserted. The video screen wasn't turned really good for me to see well, but I got to see it. When the last (2nd) cath was done they cathed both the femoral artery and vein. I could't see the screen at all this time because of how it was turned, but told the doc I am an exercise science student, our current section was study of the cardiovascular system, and would he talk/say everything he would be thinking as he did the procedure. It was a very good lesson/review first hand of my contemporary university class. For me, it was fascinating. I'd say don't be put out unless you need to be because of anxiety or some other reason. Barry Stone
I had a cath in June 2007 and I was knocked out for that procedure. The doctor said he was going to give me something to relax and the next thing I knew we were finished.
My last cath was in May 2010 before my AVR. I was awake for the entire procedure--just a little lidocaine at the insertion site and we were off to the races.
Since I have had it done both ways I prefer to be alert so I can watch what is going on and help the doctor in case he needs the help. : )
Overall, there is very little to no pain after the cath. The worst part is having to lay still and not lift your head off of the bed, etc. The overall differences will be in the doctor doing the cath and the location that cath is being done. My first cath was done by my local cardiologist at the hospital in 2008 and the second was done at Duke University Medical Center in 2010 by someone on staff.
Hi Christy - I just had one two weeks ago and the nurse said they would give me something similar to valium and I was asleep the whole time and didn't feel anything during the procedure. They numbed the area with lidacaine and I don't even remember feeling that. Hope this helps.
Cardiac Cath: It is my understanding that they give you IV meds. to relax you (much like they do when you have a colonoscopy) and many people fall asleep and don't remember anything. I have requested that I be completely asleep because I am a really anxious type and it has been agreed that they will give me enough of whatever to knock me out for the entire cath. They also did this for me with the TEE. I have not heard anyone complaining of pain, etc. during the cath. I guess it just depends upon how anxious you are. I know myself and I need to be asleep for any invasive procedure, but most people don't. Ruth Howell
Hi Christy, to answer your cardiac catheter question; no they don't knock you out for the angiogram. At least in my case they didn't. I have had two; the first last April which was an emergency case due to heart attack where they also did an angioplasty (installing a stent to open up a blocked artery) and the second in January which was planned to check for more blocked arteries through one catheter in the femoral artery in my groin and the other to check the severity of the stenosis of my aortic valve through my wrist (radial artery). They freeze both locations with a local anesthetic and they asked me if I wanted something to calm me down through my IV. I accepted that. It is not a painful experience but it feels weird at times (mostly upon insertion and removal of the catheters) along with a warm sensation when they inject the iodine. The total procedure is probably between 45 minutes and an hour. Nothing to be worried about.... Eric B.
My surgery is scheduled for April 21st. I have absolutely NO energy and this has been getting worse and worse every year. So I know how you feel. I spend most days sleeping on the sofa and if I go out and walk around I'm wiped out for two days. I am told the surgery will resolve this. I would opt for having surgery sooner rather than later to eliminate the possibility of heart damage.
Medications are often difficult and tricky things until you get them regulated. Always call your doctor if you suspect you're having a bad reaction. My best to you.
I had my surgery (aortic aneurysm) Oct. 18. I also have a problem with high blood pressure. I was on lasix after surgery and had problems with dizzieness and even almost blacking out. The problem for me was even though I was drinking water and staying hydrated the lasix was actually dehydrating my blood vessels. It took several tries of dosage to find something that lessened the side effects. There are different types of diaretics so you may respond differently to something else.
Definitely call the Doc. Do not wait for it to happen again. Since my surgery I am not as hesitant to call with questions. I found talking to my docs nurse very helpful. She gave me great reassuance and was a good "middle person" with a busy doc. She always called me back with in 24 hours.
Best of Luck
I have suffered for 25 years with fatigue. It slowly got worse until in the months right before surgery, I was sleeping an extra 3 hours a day.
Well! The first day out of the hospital I suddenly realized toward the end of the day that the bottom had not fallen out of my energy level. I still felt an even level of energy! I needed to nap for an hour but I didn't have to crash! That was 2 and a half weeks ago and my stamina has remained good and my strength have increase every day! I still nap every day to speed my recovery but I'm always still going strong by the end of the day. It is amazing!
I am about to have my surgery, now postponed from tomorrow to Monday, February 28th. I, too, have suffered from severe fatigue for nearly 15 years, with it getting worse each year. I know how you feel. It really affects every part of our lives. My surgeon told me that I will have more energy after my surgery. I certainly hope that will be the case. I will let you know how it goes for me after my surgery. Take care!
Bicuspid aortic valve, aortic insufficiency and aneurysm
I haven't had my surgery yet and am not taking Lasix, but I do know that Lasix and all other meds meant to decrease water retention (diuretics) can cause dizzyness and the symptoms you describe if you become too dehydrated. Do call your doctor as the dose may need to be adjusted. I have also read that these water retention problems improve following surgery. Best of luck to both of us.
As many have said, wait and see. I am in my 6th week of recovery. Although the doctor said I could drive, my husband said otherwise. That's okay, he didn't want me to cut anything with a knife either being on Counadin! Alot will depend on how strong you are. With it being winter here (i.e. snow) I am not in a hurry to drive either. I did go out on Sunday of this past week to "give it a try". I was a bit surprised to find out there was some tightness in turning the steering wheel. Like others have said, it is the airbag you need to be concerned about and not your driving but others on the road.
I too was concerned about going 'stir crazy' but haven't felt that at all which has surprised me. Especially with the weather, I have not been able to get out and walk. I know in a few more weeks, I will be able to and then it will all come together.
Other questions? Bring them on...we ave all had them!!
I had a mitral valve repair with a median sternotomy on Jan 18. My surgeon told me four weeks before I could drive. Today is week five. I've driven a little locally this past week, but I wouldn't try any long distance or heavy traffic driving yet.
I've been off Percocet for about three weeks now. That's one factor. Another is your incision—what it is and how ell healed. One issue I have is seeing around huge snowbanks at intersections. I find that twisting my neck that much is difficult and painful—this probably is not an issue in Georgia in the summer.
Your surgeon or cardiologist will tell you about this, but based on my experience (and everyone is different) I'd figure about six weeks.
Welcome to HVJ! I had my aortic valve replaced with minimally invasive surgery. I didn't drive for 5 weeks AND I was told to sit in the back seat that long as well. In addition to not feeling up to driving for a number of weeks, the concern is the airbag. If you have an accident, your sternum could be crushed by the power of the airbag. (If you've ever known anyone who has been hit by an airbag, you understand its force.)
Feel free to ask questions as you prepare for suregery. This site is a great source of information.
Plan on 6 weeks. Not because of physical reasons. It has a lot to do with airbag exposure and the time it takes the incision to heal. I sat in the back seat for six weeks !! I kinda liked it :). Dean Muglia
Hi Christy. Re the question about how long before you can drive after the valve job. I've read..two particular things about this. First, the doc will probably tell you..and 2nd, when you can drive safely has a lot to do, most to do, with the pain meds/drugs in your system and related safety for driving. Check with your doc. Also, I believe much will depend on the type of procedure you have, such as will you have a "conventional-go through the sternum for access to the heart", or will you have a more minimally invasive procedure??
I am 31 and about to have mitral & aortic valve replacement in a few weeks. I had mitral valve replacement 10 years ago. As far as your question about driving, i don't remember how long after your surgery that you can drive, but keep in mind if you are having open heart surgery your sternum will be very sore and you don't realize how heavy your head is until your chest muscles don't work properly...it will be hard to drive for at least a few weeks because you won't be able to turn your head to check and see if a car is coming until those muscles heal. Just take it easy and don't rush anything take your time recovering! Please feel free to contact me with any other questions my e-mail is posted in my personal story.
All the best,