Dilated inferior vena cava (IVC) is prevalent among patients with heart failure (HF), but whether its presence predicts worsening renal function (WRF) or adverse outcomes is unclear. This cohort study analyzed patients with left ventricular ejection fraction <40 % and repeated hospitalizations (≥2 times) for HF between August 2009 and August 2011. The study endpoints were death and HF re-hospitalization. Among baseline parameters, IVC diameter was the most powerful predictor for the development of WRF (area under the curve = 0.795, cut-off value = 20.5 mm). During the 2-year follow-up, 36 patients (49 %) were re-hospitalized for HF and 14 patients (19 %) died. The event rates were significantly greater in the WRF group than in the non-WRF group (71 vs. 30 %, P < 0.001 for HF re-hospitalization; 29 vs. 10 %, P = 0.03 for death). In Cox regression model, the risk of combined end-points was increased in patients with aging, elevated blood urine nitrogen, IVC >21 mm, and WRF. When adjusted for confounding factors, IVC >21 mm [hazard ratio (HR) 3.73, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.66-8.34] and WRF (HR 2.68, 95 % CI 1.07-6.75) were significant predictors for adverse outcomes. In patients with advanced decompensated HF, dilated IVC (>21 mm) predicted the development of WRF and could be a predictor for adverse outcomes.