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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Breathing difficulty and heart functioning at 20%. What treatment should be done?

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Dr. Madhuri Patil

Diabetologist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 362 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 29 Dec 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: Hello - my Father-In-Law went to his cardiologist because he was having difficulty breathing and told by his cardiologist that his heart was functioning at 20% capacity. Unfortunately his was given no context or direction other than to come back in 3 months.

Can you put this in perspective?

He has a pacemaker and is in excellent health otherwise. No other medications and an active life.

Many thanks for your time and expertise. XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Madhuri Patil 3 hours later
Hi XXXXXXX

Your father-in-law's heart is functioning at 20% means the capacity of his heart to pump out oxygenated (pure) blood (the ejection factor) has gone down by more than 50%.
A doctor can tell this by a test called echo-cardiography (2D-ECHO).
If the doctor has given him medication (medication which relieves the load on heart and makes it easy to pump out more blood) to relieve from the breathlessness and now he's feeling better with that medication then please do not worry and take him to the same Cardiologist after three months as he's been told to.
On the other side, If patient's symptoms are the same (breathlessness persisting- and more with exertion), if his ECHO test was not done and only clinically the Cardiologist told about this 20% ejection factor and didn't prescribe any medication then I would suggest please take your father-in-law to a good physician first to evaluate for the breathlessness and to know about current heart functionality.
I hope you got your answer. Please revert back for any further query. Take care. Next time mention you father-in-law's age correctly.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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