ASE addresses TEE as part of Choosing Wisely

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) has released a list of five interventions that physicians and patients should discuss as part of the Choosing Wisely initiative.

The recommendations include discussing whether transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is necessary if a patient's clot treatment is not likely to be modified.

TEE involves acquiring echocardiography images from within the body, as the device is placed directly next to the heart to identify possible sources of a stroke, including blood clots within the heart.

To safely and comfortably perform TEE, sedatives and a local anesthetic are administered. Both the administration of the medications and placing the probe in the esophagus are not entirely benign procedures; although complications rarely occur, there is a possibility of damage to the esophagus and choking or aspiration, ASE said.

Because of these risk factors, ASE suggests the procedure be done only when the care of the patient will possibly change based on TEE results.

The goal of Choosing Wisely is to promote conversations between physicians and patients about the most appropriate tests and treatments and to avoid care that may provide no benefit.

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