Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot supply the body's tissues with enough blood. The result is a cascade of changes that lead to severe fatigue, breathlessness and, ultimately, death. In the past quarter century, much progress has been made in understanding the molecular and cellular processes that contribute to heart failure, leading to the development of effective therapies. Despite this, chronic heart failure remains a major cause of illness and death. And because the condition becomes more common with increasing age, the number of affected individuals is rising with the rapidly ageing global population. New treatments that target disease mechanisms at the cellular and whole-organ level are needed to halt and reverse the devastating consequences of this disease.