During my most recent Heart Catheterization my ejection fraction was
calculated at 39%,however the Cardiologist indicated that his visual
estimate was 30 to 35%. How is Ejection Fraction calculated and is my
Doctors estimate more accurate based on his visual obsevations during
the cath procedure?
Dear Dale, thank you for your question. The ejection fraction (EF) is the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle (LV) with each heart beat and is normally > 55%. An EF can be calculated with an echocardiogram, a left ventriculogram done during a cardiac catheterization, or a nuclear study called a MUGA. The method of calculating the EF involves tracing the dimensions of the LV at the end of its contraction period (systole) and at the end of its relaxation period (diastole). These dimensions are then used to calculate the EF with a standard mathematical formula. There is some error in a calculated EF based on the drawing of the LV dimensions, so many cardiologists visually estimate the EF. Generally, the calculated EF is more accurate, but it's a relative accuracy as I mentioned. Thus, the range of the EF is more important than the actual number that is obtained. In your case, your EF range indicates that you have moderate dysfunction of the LV (presumably from prior heart attacks if you have coronary artery blockages).
I hope you find this information useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. Please feel free to write back with additional questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart
Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.
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