What Is The Normal Range For Ejection Fraction?

Question

What Is The Normal Range For Ejection Fraction?

Hello Jo,

An easy question!

What is an ejection fraction, exactly? Let me detail:

You heart consists of four chambers: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle. The right side of your heart receives de-oxygenated blood from your body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to your body. The left side of your heart is larger and more powerful; it make senses it would need to be to pump blood to your entire body.

When your heart contracts, the atrium (top part of the heart) contracts small fractions of a second before the ventricles contract. Therefore, you ventricles are maximally filled with blood before they contract. After the ventricles contract, there is an amount of blood left in the chamber; this is a good thing because it keeps the chamber in essence from collapsing in on itself and the walls of your heart from sticking to each other. If they did collapse, it would be much more work for your atria to push the ventricles open to fill them with blood.

So, your ventricle is most filled with blood before it contracts and least filled with blood the instant it is finished contracting. During an echocardiogram or perfusion stress test (two imagining test your doctor might order if concerned about your heart), the volume of (or amount of blood in) your ventricle at both of the times can be measured.

The ejection fraction, then, is the amount of the blood remaining in your left ventricle (the workhorse of your heart because it pumps blood to your entire body!!) divided by the amount of blood in your heart right before it contracts.

When you have heart disease, your left ventricle cannot, for a variety of reasons, contract as well as it once did. A diseased heart leaves more blood in the ventricles than it should and pumps too little to the rest of your body. Therefore, your ejection fracture decreases.

WHEW! That was a long explanation. Hope it helps you understand a bit about cardiovascular function, and why we doctors are concerned about ejection fraction.