If My EF is 45%, Am I in Heart Failure?

Understanding Heart Failure: Is an Ejection Fraction (EF) of 45% a Concern?


When it comes to heart health, one key measurement that doctors often discuss is the ejection fraction (EF). Understanding what an EF of 45% means is crucial in determining the state of your heart’s health and whether it points to heart failure.

What is Ejection Fraction?

Ejection fraction is a term used in cardiology to measure how effectively your heart pumps blood. It calculates the percentage of blood that is ejected from the heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) with each beat.

Interpreting an Ejection Fraction of 45%

  • Normal EF Range: Typically, a normal EF ranges from 55% to 70%. This means that more than half of the blood in the ventricle is pumped out with each heartbeat.
  • EF of 45%: An EF of 45% is slightly below the normal range. This condition is often considered borderline and may indicate potential issues.

Is an EF of 45% Indicative of Heart Failure?

  • Borderline Heart Function: An EF of 45% falls in the ‘borderline’ or ‘gray area’. It’s not low enough to be clearly indicative of heart failure, but it’s not in the normal range either.
  • Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF): In some cases, an EF of 45% can be associated with a type of heart failure called HFpEF. Here, the heart muscle contracts normally but is stiffer than normal, affecting its relaxation and filling.

Symptoms to Consider

If you have an EF of 45%, it’s important to be aware of heart failure symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during activity or when lying down
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Increased heart rate or palpitations

The Importance of a Holistic View

It’s essential to consider other factors along with EF:

  • Medical History: Your overall health history plays a significant role.
  • Risk Factors: Factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity can influence heart health.
  • Symptoms: The presence or absence of symptoms is crucial in diagnosing heart failure.

Living with a Borderline EF

If you have an EF around 45%, here are some steps to take:

  • Regular Monitoring: Regular check-ups with your cardiologist are important.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Engage in heart-healthy activities like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help your heart function more efficiently.

An ejection fraction of 45% is a borderline figure that requires attention but doesn’t necessarily confirm heart failure. It’s important to consider this number in the broader context of your overall health and symptoms. Regular medical follow-ups and a healthy lifestyle are key in managing your heart health.


  • Ejection Fraction: It’s a crucial measure of heart efficiency.
  • 45% EF: A borderline figure that needs careful monitoring.
  • Heart Failure Symptoms: Keep an eye out for any signs.
  • Holistic Approach: Consider all health aspects and lifestyle factors.
  • Stay Proactive: Regular medical check-ups and a heart-healthy lifestyle are essential.


Understanding your heart’s ejection fraction and how it relates to your overall health is a vital step in maintaining a healthy heart. Be proactive, stay informed, and work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure the best care for your heart.


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