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This article provides information and a commentary on key trials relevant to the pathophysiology, prevention, and treatment of heart failure (HF) presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology held in Stockholm in 2010. Unpublished reports should be considered as preliminary, since analyses may change in the final publication. The SHIFT study supports the use of ivabradine in patients with HF due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction and resting sinus rhythm rate ≥70 b.p.m. despite treatment with beta-blockers or where beta-blockers are contra-indicated. Results from PEARL-HF suggest that the potassium binding polymer RLY5016 may be useful for both prevention and treatment of hyperkalaemia in HF patients with or without concomitant chronic kidney disease. The STAR-heart study provides encouraging observational data about the potential for intracoronary stem cell transplantation in patients with HF. Results from HEBE-III showed no effect of erythropoietin on ejection fraction measured 6 weeks post-MI; although there were fewer cardiovascular events in patients assigned to erythropoietin, the study was too small to provide conclusive evidence of effect.