A high prevalence of nocturnal Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR) has been documented in patients with heart failure with normal left ventricular ejection fraction (HFNEF). The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of adaptive servoventilation (ASV) for treatment of CSR in these patients. In 60 patients with HFNEF, defined according to current European Society of Cardiology guidelines, CSR was documented by polysomnography (apnoea/hypopnoea index (AHI) of >15 events x h(-1)). ASV treatment was offered to all patients; 21 initially rejected treatment, withdrew from treatment or presented noncompliant during follow-up (controls), whereas ongoing ASV therapy was initiated in 39 patients (ASV group). Echocardiography, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and measurement of N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide were performed at baseline and follow-up (11.6+/-3 months). ASV therapy led to a significant reduction in AHI, longest apnoea and hypopnoea length, maximum and mean oxygen desaturation by pulse oximetry, percentage of study time with an oxygen saturation of <90% and arousal index. In addition, significant positive effects could be confirmed on absolute and predicted peak oxygen consumption, oxygen consumption at the individual aerobic-anaerobic threshold, oxygen pulse, as well as left atrial size, and transmitral flow patterns (mean early diastolic lengthening velocity and the ratio of peak early Doppler mitral inflow velocity to this lengthening velocity). ASV effectively attenuates CSR in patients with HFNEF and improves heart failure symptoms and cardiac function. Whether or not this is accompanied by an improved prognosis remains to be determined.