Though the regular echocardiogram can produce efficient images of the heart and the blood flow, a need arises in some cases for a closer view of the heart valves and the corresponding muscles. In such cases, transesophageal echocardiogram (TOE or TEE in North America)) can be performed in order to get the better results.
It makes use of a special probe with a transducer at one end that can generate high frequency sound waves. These waves are received and converted into electrical impulses so that it can be interpreted as a two dimensional image. When compared to the regular echocardiogram, a transesophageal echocardiogram performs much better due to the lesser attenuation experienced by the signal emitted by the transducer.
The waves generated by the regular echocardiogram have to penetrate through the skin, chest and the ribs. Therefore, a significant amount of the input is absorbed by the body and lost as attenuation. However, as transesophageal echocardiogram directly emits the sound waves just in front of the heart, it leads to a much clearer image output and resolution.