Aims/hypothesis: In type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart failure is a frequent, potentially fatal and often forgotten complication. Glucose-lowering agents and adjuvant therapies modify the risk of heart failure. We recently reported that 7.8 years of intensified compared with conventional multifactorial intervention in individuals with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria in the Steno-2 study reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and prolonged life over 21.2 years of follow-up. In this post hoc analysis, we examine the impact of intensified multifactorial intervention on the risk of hospitalisation for heart failure. Methods: One hundred and sixty individuals were randomised to conventional or intensified multifactorial intervention, using sealed envelopes. The trial was conducted using the Prospective, Randomised, Open, Blinded Endpoints (PROBE) design. After 7.8 years, all individuals were offered intensified therapy and the study continued as an observational follow-up study for an additional 13.4 years. Heart-failure hospitalisations were adjudicated from patient records by an external expert committee blinded for treatment allocation. Event rates were compared using a Cox regression model adjusted for age and sex. Results: Eighty patients were assigned to each treatment group. Ten patients undergoing intensive therapy vs 24 undergoing conventional therapy were hospitalised for heart failure during follow-up. The HR (95% CI) was 0.30 (0.14, 0.64), p = 0.002 in the intensive-therapy group compared with the conventional-therapy group. Including death in the endpoint did not lead to an alternate overall outcome; HR 0.51 (0.34, 0.76), p = 0.001. In a pooled cohort analysis, an increase in plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) during the first two years of the trial was associated with incident heart failure. Conclusions/interpretation: Intensified, multifactorial intervention for 7.8 years in type 2 diabetic individuals with microalbuminuria reduced the risk of hospitalisation for heart failure by 70% during a total of 21.2 years of observation. Trial registration:: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00320008.