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What is the normal ejection fraction of the heart?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 29, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

A normal ejection fraction ranges from 50% to 70%. Ejection fraction (EF) describes how well your heart chambers (the left or right ventricles) can pump blood to your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Patients with heart failure usually have an ejection fraction of 40% or less.

  • As an example, if your left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) is 65%, that means that 65% of the amount of blood in the left ventricle is pumped out with each contraction of your heart.
  • The left ventricle is the chamber responsible for most of your heart's main pumping action. When your left ventricle is weak or diseased, a lower amount of blood is pumped out when it contracts (squeezes from a heart beat).

Your doctor can measure the ejection fraction using an echocardiogram (or "echo"), a normally painless procedure that outlines your heart’s movements using an ultrasound machine.

What can I do to improve my ejection fraction?

By following some important rules, you may be able to help your heart strengthen and perform better.

  • Follow your doctor’s orders exactly and take your medications as prescribed.
  • Be sure any risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome are managed appropriately by your doctor.
  • Limit your sodium (salt) intake to what your doctor recommends. Too much salt can lead to fluid retention and put an added strain on your heart.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and healthful eating. Ask your doctor if meeting with a dietician may be helpful for your meal planning.
  • Follow any exercise plan that your doctor has suggested. Exercise, even simple walking, can improve your heart’s ability to pump blood, reduce your symptoms and elevate your mood. Also, ask your doctor about a heart rehabilitation program and if you are a candidate.
  • If you smoke, you need to quit. Ask your doctor about smoking cessation programs, group meetings and medicines that can help you quit smoking.
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drugs, which can add a further strain on your heart, often in very dangerous ways.
  • Limit stress in your life. High blood pressure and an increased heart rate are often linked with stress and may worsen heart failure. Your healthcare provider can offer ways to help lower stress.

Is Entresto used for heart failure?

Yes, Entresto is one of the newer medicines now approved to treat heart failure. It has been shown in studies to improve left ventricular ejection fraction in patients with heart failure. It was approved by the FDA in 2015.

Entresto (sacubitril and valsartan) from Novartis is an oral prescription medicine used for the treatment of:

  • adults with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) to help reduce the risk of death and hospitalization. Benefits are most clearly evident in patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) below normal.
  • certain children 1 year of age and older with heart failure that causes symptoms.

Entresto is a combination of two medicines: the neprilysin inhibitor sacubitril and the angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) valsartan. It works by relaxing the blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering stress on the heart. Entresto is usually given together with other heart failure medications, in place of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or other ARB.

Study: Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction

In the Phase IV PROVE-HF trial of over 790 adult patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), Entresto significantly improved LVEF from a median of 28.2% to 37.8% at one year. Over one-quarter of patients experienced an increase in left ventricular ejection fraction of more than 13%.

The most common side effects with Entresto include low blood pressure, high potassium, cough, dizziness, and kidney problems.

Learn more: Review the FDA approval history for Entresto

This is not all the information you need to know about heart failure or Entresto and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Entresto product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

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