EF measurement helps diagnose and monitor heart failure

Ejection fraction or EF is a measurement of how much blood is being pumped out of the heart compared to what’s left in the heart with each heartbeat. A normal EF—even for people with a healthy heart—is 50 to 70 percent. This means that 50 to 70 percent of the total amount of blood from the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber) is being pumped each time. An EF of less than 35 percent means you may have moderate to severe heart failure. The ranges in between indicate varying degrees of heart failure. It is also possible to have normal EF but still have heart failure.

Signs and symptoms of low ejection fraction and types of testing

With low EF you may be experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • Edema (swelling in legs, ankles)
  • Fatigue
  • Mental confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Uncomfortable and irregular heartbeat

To test ejection fraction, your doctor may prescribe certain types of testing to see exactly how much blood your heart is pumping and where the weakness might be. Testing may include:

To schedule an appointment with a Lankenau Heart Institute specialist, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.