This brief review summarizes abnormalities of arterial and cardiopulmonary baroreflex control of heart rate and sympathetic nerve activity. The potential role of these abnormalities in the development of the neurohumoral excitatory state associated with heart failure is discussed. Major emphasis is placed on the identification of important issues still to be investigated in this area. The potential importance of altered cardiovascular reflexes in the context of the interaction of the patient with heart failure and environmental stresses is discussed. The use of the canine rapid ventricular pacing model of biventricular failure in the investigation of abnormalities of baroreflexes in heart failure is emphasized. Insights obtained from this model should be extended to human investigations.