Heart failure is a common condition, associated with both poor prognosis and poor quality of life. In contrast to all other cardiovascular diseases, the prevalence of heart failure is increasing in the western world, and is likely to continue to do so as the population ages. In the UK, a significant proportion of patients with heart failure come from South Asian and African Caribbean ethnic groups. A large body of evidence exists that there may be epidemiological and pathophysiological differences between patients with heart failure from different ethnic groups. Treatments such as ACE inhibitors, which are now part of standard heart failure therapy, have an evidence base consisting of trials in patients of almost exclusively white ethnicity. Such treatments may not be equally effective in patients from other ethnic groups. This review will discuss the current evidence for heart failure management with respect to ethnicity, and consider the implications for future drug development and implications for antihypertensive therapy.