Clinical and basic science research has repeatedly confirmed the importance of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in the pathophysiology of chronic heart failure. Accordingly, blockade of this system by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors has assumed a central role in the treatment of heart failure. Recently, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) have gained prominence as a possible substitute for ACE inhibitors in therapy for heart failure. However, clinical data compiled on this use of ARBs have shown them to be useful only as alternative therapy in ACE inhibitor–intolerant patients. Continuing large-scale clinical investigations may lead to an expansion of their role in therapy for various cardiovascular diseases.