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© 2010 Health Alliance Plan of Michigan

Q&A: What Ejection Fraction Means to Your Health

Your doctors can measure how well your heart is working by looking at the amount of blood pumped out with each beat. Called ejection fraction (EF), this measurement helps diagnose heart failure and other heart conditions.

Q : What is a normal EF reading?

A : EF tells your doctor what percentage of blood taken into the

heart is pumped out again when it beats. Normally, that number is 55 to 75 percent. An EF between 40 and 55 percent means there’s damage to the heart. This may be from a previous heart attack or heart valve problems.

An EF measurement of less than 40 percent could point to heart failure. However, some heart failure patients may have normal EF.

Q : How can I fnd out my number, and how often do I need it

checked?

A : Tests that measure EF include ultrasounds and special X-rays. If

you have heart failure or another heart problem, your doctor will tell you how often to have your EF measured.

Q : How does it impact my treatment?

A : Measuring EF can help your doctor decide if your treatment

is helping. You should not be concerned if there are small changes in the EF. But if EF drops steadily month after month, your doctor may need to change your heart failure therapy. Proper treatment can increase EF over time.

HAP’s HealthTrack Program has registered Nurse Health Coaches, as well as behavioral health specialists and pharmacists, who will help you sort out any questions or problems you may be having with your health. Give us a call toll-free at (800) 288-2902. Or if you’d like more information or tools for any of the conditions we discuss in this newsletter, our Web site hap.org is a great reference that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Pat Slone, R.N., C.C.M. Deborah Marine, J.D.

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