TEE Anyone?

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I met Dr. L, my cardiac surgeon, yesterday. As stressed as I was for this appointment, he put me at ease, as he’s very nice and laid back- not intimidating at all. If he does end up doing my surgery, I’ll feel very confident in his hands. He actually may not be doing my surgery, as he said that the transcatheter closure may still be an option, and an interventional cardiologist does that procedure.  He wants to perform one more test before jumping into surgery to see if I’m a candidate for the device. I need to have a transesophageal echocardiogram or a TEE, as it’s known. Basically it’s another echocardiogram but with this exam they put the a scope down your esophagus so they can get better pictures of the heart, from more angles, as well. The cardiologist needs a clear picture of the rims around the hole in my heart to decide whether it’ll hold a device. Here’s a video of a TEE, if you’re interested:

I admit I left the appointment a little discouraged. I thought I would be told whether I was having open heart surgery or getting the device at this appointment, and assumed that the MRI would have given them all the necessary information. Apparently the MRI was more so to look for any additional congenital defects and just assess the condition of my vessels etc.  I suppose I’m just getting impatient, since it’s hard to plan your life, apply for jobs etc. when you “might” be having open heart surgery in the near future. I just keep focusing on the positives:

  1. I’m so grateful to live in Canada and have access to our awesome healthcare system, especially living in Vancouver and having access to world class surgeons/facilities. The doctors I have been assigned to are particularly amazing.
  2. I am beyond grateful that this defect was actually discovered by a fluke! I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened it if went undetected/untreated.
  3. It really hasn’t been that long since my first test. I had my echo in September, so it’s been six months since I knew about my heart defect. I’ve already had an echo, an MRI, met with my cardiologist twice, and my cardiac surgeon once. I’m simply just being impatient.
  4. It’s good news that I might be able to get the device instead of open heart surgery- less interruption to my running!

It should be about six weeks until I can get an appointment at the hospital, so back to the waiting game. I’m getting very good at this game.

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