Ejection fraction

Our specialist helpline nurse Jayne Partridge discusses the heart's ejection fraction and what this means for management of cardiomyopathy.

Ejection fraction ( EF) is a measurement used to determine how well your heart is functioning. An EF is a percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat.

  • 'Ejection' refers to the amount of blood that is pumped out of the hearts main pumping chamber, the left ventricle during each heart beat. 
  • 'Fraction' refers to the fact that, even in a healthy heart, some blood always remains in this chamber after each heart beat. In a healthy heart, each beat should pump out at least 50% of the blood in the left ventricle.

Ejection fraction can be measured using:

  • Echocardiogram- ultrasound test which provides pictures of the heart's valves and chambers and is used to evaluate the pumping action of the heart. An echocardiogram usually takes around 40 minutes to perform and the results will be reviewed by a cardiologist after the test.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging- this is a test which produces very clear pictures or images of the heart without the use of x-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer produce the images. An MRI scan usually takes around 40- 80 minutes to perform, during which many images are obtained.

Your Ejection Fraction can go up and down, based on your heart condition and how well your treatment works.

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© Cardiomyopathy UK. March 2018.