MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small RNAs that are 18-23 nucleotides long. Recently, plasma miRNAs were reported to be sensitive and specific biomarkers of various pathological conditions. In the present study, we focused on miR-210, which is known to be induced by hypoxia and might therefore be an excellent biomarker for congestive heart failure. Plasma miR-210 levels and expression levels in mononuclear cells and skeletal muscles were elevated in Dahl salt-sensitive rats with heart failure. We also assessed miR-210 expression in patients with heart failure. The miR-210 expression levels in the mononuclear cells of patients with NYHA III and IV heart failure according to the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification system were significantly higher than those with NYHA II heart failure and controls. Although no significant correlation was observed between plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and plasma miR-210 levels in patients with NYHA II heart failure, patients with an improved BNP profile at the subsequent hospital visit were classified in a subgroup of patients with low plasma miR-210 levels. Plasma miR-210 levels may reflect a mismatch between the pump function of the heart and oxygen demand in the peripheral tissues, and be a new biomarker for chronic heart failure in addition to plasma BNP concentrations.