These two issues of Progress in Pediatric Cardiology comprehensively illustrate the wealth of currently available information on the pathophysiology of heart failure, age-related myocardial responsiveness, energy metabolism, cardiopulmonary interactions, the pressure-volume relationship, the systemic inflammatory response, the management of heart failure, pediatric pharmacology, the use of heart failure therapies including digoxin, ACE inhibitors, beta-adrenergic blockers, inotropic agents, diuretics, vasodilators, calcium sensitizers, angiotensin and aldosterone receptor blockers, growth hormone, and future gene therapy. The etiology and course of ventricular dysfunction in children is poorly characterized. Furthermore, many changing developmental properties of the pediatric myocardium and differences in the etiologies of ventricular dysfunction in children compared with adults are illustrated in these articles, invalidating the concept that children can safely be considered small adults for the purpose of understanding heart failure pathophysiology and treatment. However, these articles reveal that strikingly little research in children with ventricular dysfunction exists in terms of well-designed large-scale studies of the epidemiology or multicenter controlled clinical therapeutic trials. A future research agenda is proposed to improve understanding etiologies, course and treatment of ventricular dysfunction in children that is based on organized and funded cooperative groups since no one pediatric cardiac center treats enough children with a particular etiology of ventricular dysfunction. In conclusion, significant understanding of basic mechanisms of pediatric ventricular dysfunction and effective therapies for adults with ventricular dysfunction exist. A multicenter pediatric cardiac ventricular dysfunction network would allow improved understanding of diseases and treatments, and result in evidence-based medicine for pediatric patients with ventricular dysfunction.