Overview » Good To Know » Ejection Fraction

The Ejection Fraction, or EF for short, is one of the most important numbers to know about your heart health.

Recent research shows that patients who have an ejection fraction of 40% or below are at risk for a dangerously fast heart rhythm and sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States.

To help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, and to improve the quality of care for high-risk patients, it is important for all patients to “know your EF”.

If you have heart disease, or risk factors for heart disease, it is important to have your ejection fraction measured regularly, the same way that you have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. The ejection fraction is one of the ways that doctors classify the type and severity of heart failure and damage to the heart muscle.

Your doctor may prescribe medications, recommend lifestyle adjustments, and suggest other therapies depending on your ejection fraction.

If you have an ejection fraction measured to be between 50% and 75%, your heart has normal pumping ability.

If you have an ejection fraction measured between 36% and 49%, your heart’s pumping ability is below normal.

If your ejection fraction is measured to be 35% and below, your heart’s pumping ability is low and you may be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

If you have experienced any of the following, you should know your EF:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Coronary artery stent implantation
  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Palpitations
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Family history of sudden cardiac arrest
  • Risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and family history

If you have answered yes to one or more of the above, you should know your EF.

Your ejection fraction can be measured by ultrasound. This is commonly called echocardiography or “echo”. This is a simple and painless test, which can be done right in our office. By using ultrasound, measurements are taken of the heart and with these measurements, the pumping function of the heart is calculated.

If you want to know your ejection fraction, contact your physician or one of our cardiologists.