According to the American Heart Association it is estimated that the United States will spend close to $39 billion in 2010 to treat over five million Americans suffering from heart failure. Patients with heart failure suffer from dyspnea and decreased exercised tolerance and are at increased risk for fatal ventricular arrhythmias. Food and Drug Administration -approved pharmacologic therapies for heart failure include diuretics, inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system, and Β-adrenergic receptor antagonists. Over the past 20 years advances in the field of ryanodine receptor (RyR2)/calcium release channel research have greatly advanced our understanding of cardiac physiology and the pathogenesis of heart failure and arrhythmias. Here we review the key observations, controversies, and discoveries that have led to the development of novel compounds targeting the RyR2/calcium release channel for treating heart failure and for preventing lethal arrhythmias.