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Re: decreased heart function

Posted By CCF CARDIO MD-APS on April 11, 1999 at 17:49:15:

In Reply to: decreased heart function posted by kerry on April 09, 1999 at 14:48:45:

Question:  My father (age 62) had 2 heart attacks 4 years ago.  Triple by-pass surgery followed.
Yesterday, he had a heart catheterization which showed decreased heart function.  His heart is functioning at 15-20 % capacity.
This seems extremely low to me... How low is too low?  He will be taking medicine to help increase the function, but, his doctor only anticipates an increase to up to 50%.
Is medicine enough at this point?
Thanks for any help you can offer.  

Dear Kerry,
Heart functioning capacity, termed EF for ejection fraction has a normal range of 55 to 65%. Anything below 50% is decreased, and anything below 30% is generally considered severe dysfunction.
Currently, if the bypass grafts and coronary vessels are "open" or better said, not significantly blocked, then medication is the treatment of choice for decreased LV function, specifically an ace inhibitor, a diuretic, with digoxin and a beta blocker given serious consideration.  Your father needs aggressive heart failure therapy (regardless of his symptoms- he may or may not have fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.) and it sounds as if he is going to get that.  It is completely unpredictable whether or not the EF will improve, as it is unpredictable if and when he will develop symptoms (some patients have symptoms at EF=40% and others have none at EF=15%); REGARDLESS, the medications I mention have been proven time and again to improve the life of heart failure patients and in some cases prolong their life.
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for
general purposes only.  Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.
Feel free to write back with further 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.

Follow Ups:

decreased heart function kerry 4/12/1999

Re: decreased heart function CCF CARDIO MD-APS 4/14/1999

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