So, now for your heart lesson of the day. The results from my ecohocardiagram weren't as great as we had hoped but definitely not as terrible as they can be. My ejection fraction is stable which is great. This is what they monitor for herceptin treatments. "Ejection" refers to the amount of blood that is pumped out of the heart's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, during each heartbeat. "Fraction" the fact that, even in a healthy heart, some blood always remains within the chamber after each heartbeat. An Ef is a percentage of blood that is pumped out of the heart during each beat. Our EF is a key indicator of our heart health. A physician asesses the extent of heart muscle damage by measuring the left ventricle ejection fraction. A healthy heart runs between 50% and 75% and my reading is 61%. If it drops by 16 or below 50%, treatment stops and this means my heart is no longer pumping efficiently to meet my body's needs and indicates a weakened heart muscle. If it drops below 30%, I am at risk of cardiac arrest. Ugh all this makes me think so much of my dad. I remember when he tried to explain all this to me and his heart was functioning at 8% and no that's not a typo, very very sad.
We also have the strain rate which is monitored during an echo. This is a little more confusing. Strain is a measure of tissue deformation. As the ventricle contracts, it shortens and lengthens. There are a number of complexities when the parameter is measured by an echo (you can read more about that if you want). Our heart strain is a precursor to heart failure or congestive heart disease. My heart strain according to my echo has worsened since my last. This is the precursor that my ejection fraction will drop in the future and as read above, that's bad. I will need to see an oncologist cardiologist for further evaluation. We are going ahead with treatment today and I am getting my cocktail as I write this but we need answers before my next treatment in 3 weeks.