How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed?

Only your doctor can tell you if you have heart failure. When you visit your doctor, he/she should review your medical history and conduct a full physical examination.

Physicians often order a number of tests when exploring a possible diagnosis of heart failure. Many of them are painless and simple. The most important of these tests is an echocardiogram, or "echo" for short. This test tells your doctor what your ejection fraction, or "EF," is.

The ejection fraction is a measurement of how well your heart is pumping. People with a healthy heart usually have an ejection fraction of 50 percent or greater. Most people with heart failure, but not all, have an ejection fraction of 40 percent or less.

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