Abstract Objective To investigate the relationship between baseline resting heart rate and incidence of heart failure (HF) and global and regional left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Background The association of resting heart rate to HF and LV function is not well described in an asymptomatic multi-ethnic population. Methods Participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis had resting heart rate measured at inclusion. Incident HF was registered (n=176) during follow-up (median 7 years) in those who underwent cardiac MRI (n=5000). Changes in ejection fraction (ΔEF) and peak circumferential strain (Δεcc) were measured as markers of developing global and regional LV dysfunction in 1056 participants imaged at baseline and 5 years later. Time to HF (Cox model) and Δεcc and ΔEF (multiple linear regression models) were adjusted for demographics, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, calcium score, LV end-diastolic volume and mass in addition to resting heart rate. Results Cox analysis demonstrated that for 1 bpm increase in resting heart rate there was a 4% greater adjusted relative risk for incident HF (Hazard Ratio: 1.04 (1.02, 1.06 (95% CI); P<0.001). Adjusted multiple regression models demonstrated that resting heart rate was positively associated with deteriorating εcc and decrease in EF, even in analyses when all coronary heart disease events were excluded from the model. Conclusion Elevated resting heart rate is associated with increased risk for incident HF in asymptomatic participants in MESA. Higher heart rate is related to development of regional and global LV dysfunction independent of subclinical atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.