Purpose of review: It is widely accepted that there are two principal forms of cell death, namely, necrosis and apoptosis. According to the classical view, necrosis is the major mechanism of cardiomyocyte death in cardiac diseases.
Recent developments: In the past few years observations have been made showing that cardiomyocyte apoptosis occurs in diverse conditions including hypertensive heart disease, and that apoptosis may be a contributing cause of loss and functional abnormalities of cardiomyocytes in this condition.
Summary: This review will summarize recent evidence demonstrating the potential contribution of cardiomyocyte apoptosis to heart failure in hypertensive patients. In addition, some strategies aimed to detect and prevent apoptosis of cardiomyocytes will be considered.