Structural and Functional Phenotyping of the Failing Heart: Is the Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction Obsolete?

Michael R. Bristow, David P. Kao, Khadijah K. Breathett, Natasha L. Altman, John Gorcsan, Edward A. Gill, Brian D. Lowes, Edward M. Gilbert, Robert A. Quaife, Douglas L. Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and development of new therapies for diseases or syndromes depend on a reliable means of identifying phenotypes associated with distinct predictive probabilities for these various objectives. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) provides the current basis for combined functional and structural phenotyping in heart failure by classifying patients as those with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and those with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Recently the utility of LVEF as the major phenotypic determinant of heart failure has been challenged based on its load dependency and measurement variability. We review the history of the development and adoption of LVEF as a critical measurement of LV function and structure and demonstrate that, in chronic heart failure, load dependency is not an important practical issue, and we provide hemodynamic and molecular biomarker evidence that LVEF is superior or equal to more unwieldy methods of identifying phenotypes of ventricular remodeling. We conclude that, because it reliably measures both left ventricular function and structure, LVEF remains the best current method of assessing pathologic remodeling in heart failure in both individual clinical and multicenter group settings. Because of the present and future importance of left ventricular phenotyping in heart failure, LVEF should be measured by using the most accurate technology and methodologic refinements available, and improved characterization methods should continue to be sought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-781
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Heart Failure
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • ejection fraction
  • gene expression
  • heart failure
  • left ventricular function
  • left ventricular structure
  • phenotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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