Ghrelin is a novel growth hormone (GH)-releasing peptide, isolated from the stomach, which has been identified as an endogenous ligand for growth-hormone secretagogues receptor (GHS-R). This peptide also causes a positive energy balance by stimulating food intake and inducing adiposity through growth hormone-independent mechanisms. In addition, ghrelin has some cardiovascular effects, as indicated by the presence of its receptor in blood vessels and the cardiac ventricles. In vitro, ghrelin inhibits apoptosis of cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells. In humans, infusion of ghrelin decreases systemic vascular resistance and increases cardiac output in patients with heart failure. Repeated administration of ghrelin improves cardiac structure and function and attenuates the development of cardiac cachexia in rats with heart failure. These results suggest that ghrelin has cardiovascular effects and regulates energy metabolism through GH-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Thus, administration of ghrelin may be a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of severe chronic heart failure (CHF).