The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has published a series of guidelines on heart failure (HF) over the last 25 years, most recently in 2016. Given the amount of new information that has become available since then, the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC recognized the need to review and summarise recent developments in a consensus document. Here we report from the HFA workshop that was held in January 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany. This expert consensus report is neither a guideline update nor a position statement, but rather a summary and consensus view in the form of consensus recommendations. The report describes how these guidance statements are supported by evidence, it makes some practical comments, and it highlights new research areas and how progress might change the clinical management of HF. We have avoided re-interpretation of information already considered in the 2016 ESC/HFA guidelines. Specific new recommendations have been made based on the evidence from major trials published since 2016, including sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors in type 2 diabetes mellitus, MitraClip for functional mitral regurgitation, atrial fibrillation ablation in HF, tafamidis in cardiac transthyretin amyloidosis, rivaroxaban in HF, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in non-ischaemic HF, and telemedicine for HF. In addition, new trial evidence from smaller trials and updated meta-analyses have given us the chance to provide refined recommendations in selected other areas. Further, new trial evidence is due in many of these areas and others over the next 2 years, in time for the planned 2021 ESC guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure.