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What does left ventricular ejection fraction say about my heart health?

Q What does left ventricular ejection fraction say about my heart health?

A Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart's main pumping chamber during each contraction. With each beat, a normal heart pumps more than half of its blood volume. However, a heart attack or heart muscle disease such as cardiomyopathy may weaken the heart and cause a lower LVEF.

LVEF usually is determined by echocardiogram. A normal LVEF ranges from 55 to 70 percent, while 40 to 54 percent is slightly below normal. An ejection fraction of 35 to 39 percent is moderately below normal and is considered mild heart failure, when the left ventricle doesn't contract strongly enough and less blood is pumped throughout the body. An ejection fraction below 35 percent is severely below normal and indicates moderate-tosevere heart failure and an increased risk of life-threatening arrhythmias.

Your doctor can use your ejection fraction to determine a course of treatment and assess the therapies you've tried. Have your ejection fraction measured as recommended by your physician. Be aware that your ejection fraction can fluctuate based on your heart health and any therapies you've been prescribed.


Richard S. Lang,

M.D., M.P.H., FA.C.P

Vice Chairman,

Cleveland Clinic

Wellness Institute

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Title Annotation:ASK DR. LANG: Answers to questions about heart attack, saw palmetto, and ejection fraction
Publication:Men's Health Advisor
Date:Sep 1, 2017
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