What’s Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE)?

Unlike standard echocardiography, TOE uses a tube-like device placed in the mouth and passed gently down the throat into the oesophagus (the food pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach) to record images of the heart.
This test shows our Cardiologists the size, shape, and movement of your heart muscle and valves allowing them to design better care for you.

What happens in TOE?

The care you get is always based on the latest we know. Our experience tells us that the best life outcomes take more than just treatment, it takes better all-round personal support too.

Here’s a broad outline of what you can expect with TOE.

  • It’s important not to eat or drink anything 6 hours before your test.
  • If you have diabetes, you should talk to your Cardiologist about food and insulin intake, as these can affect your blood sugar levels.
  • The procedure takes about 20 minutes.
  • The Cardiologist will numb your throat with an anaesthetic spray.
  • You’ll then be given an intravenous sedative. This helps you relax throughout the test and many people fall asleep.
  • Next, a small flexible TOE probe is placed into your throat and then swallowed. On the end of the probe is the ultrasound camera which takes pictures of your heart from different angles.
  • The probe and IV line are removed when all of the required pictures are taken.
  • You may feel sleepy and will not be allowed to eat or drink until the sedative and anaesthetic have worn off.
  • During this recovery period, your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored
  • You may need to stay in hospital overnight although most people are discharged the same day.
  • By law, you must not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery within 24 hours of this procedure.

Your well-being. Our priority.

Although the TOE may leave you with a slight sore throat after the test this will usually subside after a day. For your safety, you’ll need to organise a lift home and someone you trust should stay with you for the rest of the day.

Your GenesisCare team will be happy to support and make these arrangements if of assistance.

View our patient preparation information PDF.

Patient preparation information


This is an ultrasound examination of the heart that is performed via the oesophagus using an instrument similar to an endoscope (which is what is used when doctors look at the stomach of a person using a small camera) except instead of a camera it has a small ultrasound probe on the end.This test is performed in a day patient facility and usually you will be able to go home that day.

The test itself takes about 30 minutes but there will be some hours spent waiting before and after the test and some sedatives will be given. Therefore you will need to have a small intravenous needle placed in one of your veins. As a result of the sedation please arrange for transport as you should not drive nor travel home alone on the day of the test.Please bring all your medications with you.

You should not have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to the test.

Our cardiologist specialists