Can exercise improve ejection fraction?

5 answers | Last updated: Dec 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Can exercise improve ejection fraction? My mother-in-law has had heart failure and coronary artery disease for many years. She had bypass surgery six weeks ago, and her ejection fraction (EF) is now 10 percent -- what it was before surgery. She'll begin a cardiac rehabilitation program in two weeks, for three days a week. Will that help raise her EF? Right now she can only walk about half a block, once a day. Should we encourage more exercise for improving ejection fraction?

Expert Answers

Barry M. Massie is chief of cardiology at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center.

Cardiac rehabilitation may not play a major role in raising your mother-in-law's EF, but it should improve her quality of life and her ability to be active. EF is a helpful marker for physicians, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of rehabilitation. Some patients feel good and remain active in spite of having a low EF. The real goal is to improve your mother-in-law's health and quality of life.

That said, your mother-in-law's EF may rise over the next few months as a result of the surgery, which should improve blood flow to her heart. Her return to activity should be gradual, so it's helpful to have the close follow-up that's available in a cardiac rehabilitation program. The program will also provide emotional support and patient education. Three days a week is a good start, and her doctor will provide recommendations for appropriate levels of activity at other times.

Community Answers

Jme3850 answered...

Recently, there was an article in vitasearch where 53 patients with heart problems took pycnogenol along with CoQ10 for 12 weeks and it resulted in a 22.4% increase in their ejection fractions, along with other benefits.

Air commodor dr hsr answered...

I am a Sr Consultant Cardiac Rehabilitation at Life Center Apollo Hospital Hyderabad.Me & my time condition Post CABG,Post Valve Replaced , Post Angioplasty cases, Patients with Systolic/Diastolic Dysfunction with preserved/low ejection , ICD/Pace Maker Implanted patients,HF/Cardiomyopathy, Angina etc Even patients with 30% EF improves but gradually EF is very rigid in increasing. Lot of others benefits patient gets . He gets conditioned to sustain at low ejection fraction , with medication.

Soccer22 answered...

Exercise helped me go from EF of 25% to EFof 50% from 2012 to 2015. I started with water aerobics and this last year more consistent with treadmill 30 min 3-4x per week. Along with carvedilol, diuretics, losartan, COQ10,L carnitine, gemifibrizil, zetia, and pycogenol.

Jdi answered...

I was diagnosed with 26% injection fraction 1.5 year ago (had 45 +/- 15 yrs ago with no following treatment)- Beside usual heart protection medications prescribed to me I followed Dr Sinatra's site advice and took 300 mg of CoEnzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol) + 1500 mg of L-Carnitine and D-Ribose divide in 3 doses each day + 30 mns/dayLol of light exercise. Was checked for my EF last month which showed 46% ! My heart Dr told me it was because of my meds... LOL