Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scary Procedure

Today I had the scariest procedure ever! Because this other "mass" is so close to the heart they didn't want to be poking around in there with a needle. So I had a TEE or TransEsophageal Echo. A TEE is performed by having the patient lie on their left side while a sedative is given through an intravenous (IV) line to help in relaxation and the throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to "numb" it. The TEE echo transducer is much smaller than the standard Echo equipment and is positioned at the end of a flexible tube (similar to the tube used to examine the stomach during endoscopy). The tube transfers the images from the transducer to the Echo monitor. The patient swallows the tube and the procedure begins. The use of anesthesia and the sedative minimizes discomfort (like hell it does!) and there is usually no pain. The tube goes down the esophagus the same way as swallowed food. Therefore, it is important that the patient swallow the tube rather than gag on it. The transducer at the end of the tube is positioned in the esophagus, directly behind the heart. By rotating and moving the tip of the transducer, the physician can examine the heart from several different angles.
The heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are monitored during the procedure. Oxygen is given as a preventive measure and suction is used, as needed. After the procedure, driving is not allowed for 12 hours (because of the use of sedatives). Eating and drinking should be avoided for at least two hours because the throat will still be numb and the food or drink could be aspirated into the lungs. Hot food and drinks should not be used for about 24 hours. The throat may be sore and throat lozenges can be used after two hours of the procedure.
As soon as the cardiologist started sticking that tube down my throat I freaked out and yanked it out. I went into a full blown panic. He managed to get it down the second time as I tried to remain calm (which didn't work). I freaked out again as he was removing it. Then he tells me that he didn't see anything and that my heart is strong and healthy. So now the question is "Does the mass even exist or was it some sort of shadow?" And my throat is killing me!

No comments:

Post a Comment