Ejection fraction (EF) is a measure of the pumping capacity of the heart. It refers to the percentage of blood in the heart chamber that is pumped out each cycle. A normal EF is about 60%. Ejection fractions are graded as mild decrease (35-50%), moderate decrease (25-35%), and severe decrease (<25%). Usually the EF will not go below 10%. A low EF may be due to artery blockages, high blood pressure, myocarditis or a variety of other more rare conditions.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling in the lower extremities and fatigue. Symptoms may or may not correlate with the degree of decrease in EF. Treatment for a low EF is usually iwth diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors. There may be some improvement in EF with medication and/or treatment of the underlying condition.
For those who fail medical therapy heart transplant can be considered. Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) or heart pumps are used currently as a bridge to heart transplant. There is an increased mortality with low EF and how much of an increase will depend on a number of factors including reason for the low EF, age, degree of heart failure and medical treatment.
If you would like to be seen in the Cleveland Clinic heart failure clinic please call the number below to make an appointment.
Thanks so much for your replies to my question. I really appreciate the speed of replies. Thanks for making this communication possible.
If possible I would like to communicate further with Henry - if it is possible perhaps thru email? My email address is ***@****. I am interested in knowing more and also communicating with any others who have a low EF.
Could you please tell me where I might get a copy of view a copy of that article 15 you mentioned. I went on the internet and did research but was unable to find it.
Also am curious as to what a normal day activity wise are you able to handle with the 12% EF?
How long have you had this low EF?
Are you taking any other drugs besides the one on the two year program?
What drugs were you taking before beginning this program?
How low was your EF when you first had problems 25 years ago?
Am very interested in whatever you can tell me as my husband had his problem about the same age you were when you had yours and just recently we learned the EF went down a lot from where it was a few years ago and I am very stressed about everything. I have even researched the internet on the heart pumps and am very interested in the Jarvik 2000 that just was spoken about in an article on the web the 5th of last month.
Is it your left side of the heart that you have the problems with?
Whatever you feel free to share I would appreciate.
I was first diagnosed with chf about 3 years ago. EFR was 25% at that time and I responded great to vasotec, digoxin, and lasix. When the efr was up to 65.% my doctor took me off ALL meds saying I was better. Ut Oh, I started feeling bad again and it took almost a year for him to take me seriously...once I saw a cardiologist at Duke and got back on meds, Plus Toprol XL, I started regaining some energy and doing better. The Toprol Xl has been increased to where I feel pretty good now and the efr was 40-45 in late Jan. If you don't feel your doctor is taking you seriously , my suggestion would be to consult someone else and ask them lots of questions. This is the first time I've checked this location out and it seems good information is passed along here. ( My dad also has chf and his latest echocardiogram report showed l0.% efr)
Thanks for sharing! In my husband's case there is no hope of getting the EF much above 20(which is was a few years ago - up from 11%) because there was too much heart muscle damage that they think at this point in time is irrepairable and am inclined to agree unless someone comes up with a way to use stem cells to do so. How is your father doing with only 10%EF? I was told one would be in a coma with that low an EF but that might be if there is massive heart damage also. As I have found out there are different causes of EF. My email address is in my first comment.
Looking to hear from any who have had massive heart damage esp to the left part of the heart and have 15% or less EF and who have problems with skipping beats or what feels like heart does flip flops. Please email at ***@**** Thanks!
My husband just had a biventricular pacemaker inserted. He's participating in a study. His ejection fraction was less than 25. He suffered severe damage to the left side of his heart after a failed stent placement in 1996. We've heard great things about the biventricular pacemaker and are looking forward to a better quality of life. He's just 47 years old.
this is to everyone who had or has a low EF. my husband is 43 and in dec. is EF was 18% and was given 1 yr. Presently our EF is 60% and have returned to work. You can overcome as long as you do what your Dr. tells you to do, sometimes. Just wanted to let you know not to give up. There is hope. Good luck!!
My father had a defib/pacemaker with two leads implanted within the past year. Today the results of the echocardio came back at 15%. His EF has gone down steadily since the defib/pacemaker surgery was done. In fact it went off and shocked him within a week of being implanted and had to be reset. He was hospitalized for congestive heart failure within the past couple of months. Is there any surgery that can be done? He was originally diagnosed with AFib which has progressed into cardiomyopathy and a enlarged heart. He is 72 and is the center of our family. Any info is greatly appreciated
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