What's your Ejection
The proportion, or fraction, of
blood pumped out of your heart with each beat is called the ejection
fraction. A normal heart pumps out a little more than half the heart's
volume of blood with each beat. A normal EF is 55 percent or higher.
Your doctor can order simple, painless tests such as an echocardiogram
that creates a moving picture of your heart using harmless soundwaves,
or a nuclear medicine test that shows how well your heart is pumping.
If your EF is abnormally low, you may need further tests to see if you
have an abnormal heart rhythm.
Many people who have survived a heart
attack can benefit from an
implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a pacemaker-like
device that treats ventricular fibrillation (VF), the deadly heart
rhythm that causes sudden cardiac death. Recently, several large
clinical studies were conducted to see if ICDs could prevent sudden
cardiac death in people whose heart muscle - and its pumping ability -
is damaged by a heart attack. People in the studies had an ejection
fraction (EF) of 40 or below. In these studies, survival rates were
significantly greater for people with ICDs than for people who received
traditional medical care.
know your EF?
If you don't, ask your doctor. It could save your life.
fibrillation (VF) is a deadly arrhythmia. In VF, the electrical signals
that trigger the heartbeat become very fast and chaotic in the lower
chambers of the heart. The heart no longer can pump blood to the brain
or body. Without immediate emergency help, the heart cannot recover.
Sudden cardiac death is a leading cause of death in the U.S. VF is the
leading cause of sudden cardiac death.