Importance of transesophageal echocardiography in the critically ill and injured patient

Crit Care Med. 2007 Aug;35(8 Suppl):S414-30. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000270279.72607.29.


Echocardiography, particularly transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), is a vital diagnostic and monitoring imaging modality for the intensivist. The field of echocardiography spans different venues and pathologies, ranging from surface transthoracic echocardiography and portable hand-held echocardiography, to contrast echocardiography, stress echocardiography, and TEE, among others. Numerous investigations have proven the worth of echocardiography, especially TEE, in the critically ill and injured patient, changing lives with the identification of obvious and subtle cardiothoracic diseases. Because this powerful imaging tool is immediately available and portable, crucial delays in diagnosis are not commonplace; rather than echocardiography, TEE, specifically, should be (and is in some institutions) the standard of care and management in assisting the intensivist in diagnosis of a variety of maladies. The effect of TEE technology is quite formidable, and numerous investigations have borne this out. The therapeutic effect of TEE ranges from 10% to 69%, with the majority of investigations falling into the 60% to 65% range. The diagnostic yield of TEE is far greater, approaching 78%. This article will detail the importance of echocardiography, its efficacy, and its high-yield imaging capability, particularly when compared with other imaging modalities, even transthoracic echocardiography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Critical Illness*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Humans
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnostic imaging*