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This article presents findings and a commentary on late-breaking trials presented during the meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in September 2009. Unpublished reports should be considered as preliminary, since analyses may change in the final publication. The FAST trial showed somewhat better performance of intrathoracic impedance for prediction of deterioration in patients with heart failure (HF) when compared with daily weighing. The IMPROVE-HF study reported the benefits of education on the management of patients with systolic HF. Galectin-3 appeared a useful method for improving risk stratification of patients with chronic HF in a substudy of the COACH trial. A nuclear substudy of the HF-ACTION trial failed to demonstrate that resting myocardial perfusion imaging, a measure of myocardial scar and viability, was clinically useful. A small randomized controlled trial (DAD-HF) suggested that the use of low-dose dopamine in patients with acutely decompensated HF was associated with less deterioration in renal function and less hypokalaemia. The MARVEL-1 trial raises further concerns about the safety of myoblast transplantation in ischaemic HF.