What to knw about ejection fraction

The proportion of ejection refers to how much blood the heart is pumping out during a contract. A fraction of an irregular ejection can be a symptom of a heart failure.

Many people could need care to increase the fraction of their ejection.

We address the ejection fraction in more detail in this article, including what the results mean and how to enhance the metric.

What does it mean?

Exercising regularly may help improve ejection fraction.
Exercising regularly may help improve ejection fraction.

Ejection fraction is a calculation of the degree to which the heart pumps blood around the body. When it beats, the heart contracts and it relaxes. It forces blood out of large chambers which are called ventricles during the contraction. As the heart relaxes, the ventricles fill up with blood again.

Ejection fraction is the amount of blood being pumped out by the heart during a contraction. Usually the percentage refers to the left ventricle ejection fraction, the heart chamber that pumps blood to the brain, neck, torso, abdomen and legs.

The ejection fraction is a important indicator of the function of the heart. A small fraction of the ejection, for example, may suggest a heart condition.

A doctor might use this figure to guide treatment decisions.

How to measure it

There are several ways of measuring the fraction of the ejection.

An echocardiogram is one common method. Echocardiogram is a form of ultrasonic scan that uses sound waves of high frequency to create images of internal organs.

A doctor will place a small probbe on the chest to perform an echocardiogram. We will then push the probe around the chest to create on a monitor a live image.

Other measures probably include:

Cardiac catheterization

A doctor threads a long, thin tube through his heart through a blood vessel. We will administer a contrast dye and then see how much of it each pulse leaves the heart through the arteries.

Radionuclide ventriculography

This procedure, which people often refer to as a MUGA scan, uses a special camera and radioactive tracer in the blood to take a picture of the heart.

What are the ranges for ejection fraction?

Once the doctor has calculated the fraction of the ejection, the standard ranges will be compared with it. Those are the following:

Normal ejection fraction

A usual ejection fraction becomes between 50 percent and 70 percent, according to the American Heart Association. A regular score means that with each contraction, the heart pumps a sufficient amount of blood.

A low ejection fraction can still cause heart failure. Doctors refer to this as heart failure or diastolic heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

It happens when the muscle of the heart is too tight or rigid, and does not relax enough to fill the ventricles with the normal blood volume. The heart can pump out blood at a normal rate, but the blood level may be too low.

With age the heart muscle can thicken. For older adults, thickening of the heart increases the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Low ejection fraction

An ejection fraction of 40% or under is low.

A low ejection fraction is another sign of heart failure or cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart muscle.

In people with a low ejection fraction, the heart is not able to pump enough blood out of the heart to meet the body’s needs.

Some signs of a low ejection fraction include:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen feet

Some doctors consider an ejection fraction of 41–49% to be borderline low. This measurement could signify damage from a heart attack.

High ejection fraction

An over 75 percent ejection fraction is high. A fraction of high ejection may indicate a heart condition, too.

A high fraction of the ejection, for example, may be a symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This disease will affect humans of all ages. It causes the heart muscle to thicken, which can lead to a cardiac attack.

How to improve ejection fraction

For the underlying condition, a person whose ejection fraction is outside the normal range may require treatment.

Some general recommendations for heart failure sufferers include:

  • limiting salt intake to under 2,300 milligrams per day
  • managing fluid intake
  • exercising regularly
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drug use
  • managing stress
  • identifying and treating possible causes of heart failure, such as high blood pressure

Physicians will be able to prescribe medications to help treat heart failure. Some drugs, such as beta-blockers, may prevent heart muscle weakening. Water tablets, or diuretics, can alleviate heart failure swelling and shortness of breath.

When heart failure is due to high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, the procedure will be part of the treatment of those conditions.

One more alternative is a biventricular pacemaker. This system detects abnormal, too fast or too slow a heart rate. This uses an electrical current, which allows the left and right ventricles to work together to increase the heart’s output.

Summary

Fractional ejection is an important indicator of heart health. A fraction of ejection outside normal range can be a symptom of heart failure.

The treatment for low heart failure-related ejection fraction involves changes in lifestyle, medication, and, in some cases, a biventricular pacemaker. It is also important to address the underlying causes of heart failure.

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