Heart Home > Echocardiogram for Atrial Fibrillation
An echocardiogram for atrial fibrillation is often done when a doctor needs more information to determine the causes of the irregular heart rhythm. The echocardiogram test makes a video recording of your heart based on sound waves that are bounced off it. In cases where the doctor needs to see the back of the heart, a special echocardiogram for atrial fibrillation, called a TEE, is performed.
A test called an echocardiogram ("echo" for short) can be useful for identifying certain problems with the heart that may be causing or contributing to your atrial fibrillation.
An echocardiogram is a noninvasive test that gives your doctor a live picture of your beating heart. In this test, a probe that gives off and reads sound waves is placed on your chest. The sound waves bounce off your heart, and a machine converts them into a video. Among other things, this video can show whether the heart is enlarged, how well the heart and its valves are working, and if blood clots are present.
This type of echo test is often done when it is difficult for your doctor to get a good view of the back of the heart. In order to get a better picture, a probe is placed down your esophagus. The esophagus is the passageway that connects your mouth to your stomach, and it sits right behind the heart. This procedure is called a transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE. It is usually done when the patient is mildly sedated and the throat is numbed with an anesthetic.