11. “What is the heart’s ejection fraction? As an A-Fib patient, is it important to know my EF?”
Ejection Fraction (EF) is a percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat. Your EF is a key indicator of your heart health.
“Ejection” refers to the amount of blood that is pumped out of the heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) during each heartbeat. “Fraction” refers to the fact that, even in a healthy heart, some blood always remains within this chamber after each heartbeat. Therefore, an Ejection Fraction is a percentage of the blood within the chamber that is pumped out with every heartbeat.
EF is most commonly measured in your doctor’s office during an echocardiogram. Your EF should be between 50 to 75 percent to indicate the heart is pumping well and able to deliver an adequate supply of blood to the body and brain.
If your EF falls below 50%, this means your heart is no longer pumping efficiently to meet the body’s needs and indicates a weakened heart muscle. An EF of less than 35% increases the risk of life- threatening irregular heartbeats.
Your EF can go up and down, based on your heart condition and your treatment therapies.
What does this mean to you? Most likely your EF was measured when you were first diagnosed with A-Fib. Ask your doctor if your Ejection Fraction is above 50% and how often you should have it checked. Your EF can help your doctor determine the effectiveness of your A-Fib treatment plan.
Keep in mind that Ejection Fraction is just one measure of heart function.