Ejection Fraction The Lower the Number, the Higher the Risk

Ejection fraction, or EF, is the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat. Doctors often use EF to determine how healthy your heart is and how well it is functioning as a pump.

What does your EF number mean?

Your EF number is a key indicator of your heart health.

A low EF number is a serious health risk. If you’re a heart patient with an EF of 35 or below, you’re at significantly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

A low EF number can occur if your heart muscle has been damaged from:

Normal vs. Low EF Heart

If your doctor thinks that your EF should be measured, an echocardiogram may be ordered. This simple and painless test uses ultrasound to measure how well your heart is pumping. It can often be done in the doctor’s office.

And since your EF number can change, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about tracking it over time, just like you would with your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.