Transthoracic echocardiogram is a non-invasive ultrasonic study of the heart and its structures. This test provides information on the valve structures of the heart and on the pumping function of the walls of the heart. In addition, it can identify blood clots in the chambers of the heart.
Transesophageal Echocardiograms are performed to obtain the same information; however, these are invasive examinations requiring conscious sedation and the advancement of a probe into the esophagus. This test is used when the patient is obese or has lung disease making visualization by transthoracic echocardiogram difficult on those patients in which a more detailed exam is required.