Ask the Experts

Q&A Topic: Heart Failure

dr. ainat beniaminovitz
Ainat Beniaminovitz, MD, FACC
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What causes heart failure?

Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood to provide the oxygen needed to support all the organs of the body. Most heart failure in the U.S. is due to coronary artery disease (heart attacks), although high blood pressure obesity and diabetes are also leading causes.

How prevalent is heart failure? Is it increasing or decreasing?

About five million people in the United States have heart failure. One in nine deaths is due to heart failure. Lifetime risk of developing heart failure is one in five people. Fifty percent of people who develop heart failure die within five years of diagnosis. This syndrome affects more men than woman and its prevalence greatly increases with advancing age. Overall, the worldwide prevalence of heart failure seems to have been increasing over the past decades.

Are men or women more likely to develop heart failure?

Although men still develop heart failure at a greater rate, women are catching up. As women live longer, are more obese, and have a higher incidence of diabetes, their risk for heart failure is on the rise! In fact, a woman is more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer.

What are the most common signs that heart failure might occur soon?

Common signs and symptoms are shortness of breath when performing daily activities, generalized fatigue and lack of energy, and swollen ankles or weight gain in the abdominal area.

Is heart failure treatable?

Heart failure is treatable by medication that can prolong life expectancy and improve the quality of life. When medication stops working, there are mechanical interventions such as advanced pacemakers mechanical hearts and the possibility of heart transplantation.


Dr. Ainat Beniaminovitz is a board-certified cardiologist, with a special focus on women’s cardiovascular health. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1986, she went on to complete her medical school training, residency, and fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, where she served as a chief medical resident and the chief cardiology fellow. Following completion of her fellowship, she joined the staff at Columbia-Presbyterian as a full-time cardiologist, focusing primarily on heart failure and cardiac transplantation. She has published extensively on heart disease issues and presented her work to the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. She has also co-authored several articles that appeared in medical compilations and publications including the American Journal of Cardiology, New England Journal of Medicine, and Circulation (a publication of the American Heart Association).

In 2000, Dr. Beniaminovitz joined the practice as a clinical cardiologist with a particular interest in heart failure and women’s health. As a mother of three children, she understands how important a woman’s health is, to herself as well as to her family. Dr. Beniaminovitz is an attending physician at both Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY. In addition, she is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University.


ColumbiaDoctors of the Hudson Valley
222 Route 59, Suite 302
Suffern, NY 10901
845-368-0100

745 Route 17M, Suite 203
Monroe, NY 10950
845-774-1403
www.columbiadoctors.org/patient-care/hudson-valley


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