February 4, 2023
What Is A Dangerously Low Ejection Fraction

What Is A Dangerously Low Ejection Fraction?

Low ejection fraction (LVEF) is a condition that occurs when the amount of blood being ejected from the heart’s ventricles on each beat is less than usual. LVEF is often caused by various conditions, including coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy, and structural abnormalities in the heart.

The severity of low ejection fraction varies widely, but some people with this condition may experience chest pain or other symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and reduced exercise tolerance.

Diagnosis of low ejection fraction involves performing an echocardiogram and using Holter monitors or event monitors to catch abnormal heart rhythms that otherwise may not be seen.

Treatment for low ejection fraction depends on what is causing the problem and may include medications, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), surgical treatment, or heart transplantation.

What is a Low Ejection Fraction

Low ejection fraction is usually a condition associated with severe problems in a person’s heart. The ejection fraction measures the heart’s pumping ability, the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle into arteries and veins. An average ejection fraction ranges from 55 to 70 percent, but if it falls below 50 percent, there can be severe consequences for your health and well-being.

Low ejection fraction may cause symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue, but it can also lead to other conditions that are even more dangerous:

Congestive heart failure: When the heart doesn’t pump enough blood throughout the body, fluid builds up in tissues causing swollen feet, ankles, and legs; weight gain due to swelling (edema); swelling in the abdomen caused by the accumulation of excess fluid (ascites) or blood pooling in veins (hemorrhoids).

This condition may cause an irregular heartbeat or rhythm disturbances that can result in fainting spells; chest pains or discomfort on exertion; shortness of breath even when at rest; wheezing while breathing deeply as if trying hard not to cough; coughing up white foam every morning upon waking due to difficulty breathing through narrowed airways due to fluid build-up around lungs’ alveoli sacs; inability to sleep well at night due to coughing spells during sleep periods because they’re unable to breathe during those times. After all, fluids block their airways.”

Causes Of Low Ejection Fractions

Various things, including some medications and heart attacks, can cause low ejection fraction. Medicines that can cause this include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • calcium channel blockers (e.g., nifedipine)
  • beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol)

Heart attacks may also cause low ejection fraction, cardiomyopathy, and long QT syndrome. In addition to these factors, bacterial endocarditis, congenital heart disease, and other conditions may contribute to your low ejection fraction score.

Low Ejection Fraction Effects

Low ejection fraction can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and reduced exercise tolerance. Shortness of breath is a hallmark symptom of heart failure, but it’s often the first sign that there’s something wrong with your heart.

If you feel like you can’t take in enough air during activity or lying down at night, this could be a sign that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen to work properly—a condition called hypoxemia. The best way to treat this is by receiving proper medical attention (and possibly undergoing treatment).

Heart failure affects people differently depending on the severity of their symptoms and how long they’ve had them; some people may experience shortness of breath while running, while others don’t notice any symptoms until they try doing something strenuous like lifting heavy objects or climbing stairs. Sometimes, even walking 10 feet may feel too much for someone with severe heart failure!

Diagnosing Low Ejection Fraction

Diagnosis of low ejection fraction involves performing an echocardiogram and using Holter monitors or event monitors to catch abnormal heart rhythms that otherwise may not be seen.

A Holter monitor is a portable device that records the heart’s activity over 24 hours, allowing doctors to see if there are any abnormal heartbeats during rest or exercise.

An event monitor is similar to a Holter monitor but is implanted under the skin so patients can still lead an active lifestyle while wearing it.

Treatments For Low Ejection Fraction

Treatment for low ejection fraction depends on what is causing the problem and may include medications, cardiac resynchronization therapy, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, surgical treatment, or heart transplant.

Medications: Your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers (such as metoprolol), calcium channel blockers (such as amlodipine), or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (such as lisinopril). These drugs help control your heart rate and blood pressure. They can also help improve the function of your heart.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy: This treatment uses an artificial pacemaker with electrodes implanted into your chest wall to improve how well your ventricles contract. The device sends an electrical impulse that causes both sides of your heart to contract simultaneously instead of one hiring before the other does. This improves blood flow through both sides of your heart and reduces symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath.

Treat Low Ejection Fraction Quickly

It is important to treat low ejection fraction quickly to avoid further damage to the heart. The heart is a muscle and can be damaged by low ejection fraction. If your heart is not pumping blood efficiently, you may have chest pain or shortness of breath.

Your doctor may also hear your heart murmur when listening with a stethoscope. This can happen even if you initially have no symptoms from low ejection fraction. If you suspect that you have any symptoms of this condition, speak with a doctor as soon as possible so that they can recommend appropriate treatment options for you.

Conclusion

We hope you have learned more about this condition and what you can do to prevent it. It is important to treat low ejection fraction quickly because it can cause further damage to the heart, which could lead to death or hospitalization. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact our office so we can discuss them with you.

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