By passing a small, thin tube down the throat into the esophagus, physicians can assess the overall function of the heart's chambers and valves. To reduce discomfort, the back of the patient's throat is sprayed with a topical anesthetic, sedation to help relax the patient. The patient's heart rate, heart rhythm, breathing, and blood pressure are carefully monitored during the test. The study takes about 30 minutes and the pictures taken of the heart are recorded for later review. This test is often performed when the results from a standard echocardiogram are not sufficient, or when your doctor feels a closer look at your heart would provide a more accurate diagnosis.