Heart failure (HF) is a common condition leading to an unfavourable prognosis and impaired quality of life. In this review, we provide an overview of published literature on possible epidemiological and pathophysiological differences between patients with systolic HF of South Asian origin and those from other ethnic groups (mainly White). Systolic HF tends to manifest earlier among South Asians and with frequent hospital admissions. However, survival for such patients appears to be significantly better compared with the White group, which might be associated with different patterns of HF. For example, this could be attributed to a lower prevalence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction in South Asian subjects. Indeed, the high prevalence of hypertension and diabetes among South Asians may predispose to diastolic HF with preserved systolic function. In addition, because of underrepresentation of South Asians in clinical trials, there are little data on optimal management of this ethnic group.