Nowadays, heart failure (HF) has an increasing prevalence, particularly in the elderly, and is becoming a clinical problem of epidemic proportion in terms of morbidity and mortality. Developing biological markers, that can aid in the diagnosis of HF and in the differentiation of congestive heart failure (CHF) from other causes of dyspnoea, will reduce the cost of health care. However, an ideal biomarker has not yet been identified. Potential markers of HF include neuro-hormonal mediators, markers of myocyte injury, and indicators of systemic inflammation. Among these, the BNP and NT-pro-BNP are the most widely studied and appear to be useful in patients with dyspnoea of unknown aetiology, and for risk assessment of patients with established HF. However these markers should be used as an addition tool, and not as a substitute of clinical assessment.