We investigated whether xanthine oxidase inhibition with febuxostat enhances left ventricular (LV) function and improves myocardial high energy phosphates (HEP) in dogs with pacing-induced heart failure (CHF). Febuxostat (2.2 mg/kg over 10 minutes followed by 0.06 mg/kg/min) caused no change of LV function or myocardial oxygen consumption (MVO2) at rest or during treadmill exercise in normal dogs. In dogs with CHF, febuxostat increased LV dP/dtmax at rest and during heavy exercise (P < 0.05), indicating improved LV function with no change of MVO2. Myocardial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and phosphocreatine (PCr) were examined using P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the open chest state. In normal dogs, febuxostat increased PCr/ATP during basal conditions and during high workload produced by dobutamine + dopamine (P < 0.05). PCr/ATP was decreased in animals with CHF; in these animals, febuxostat (given after completing basal and high workload measurements with vehicle) tended to increase PCr/ATP during basal conditions with no effect during catecholamine stimulation. Thus, febuxostat improved LV performance in awake dogs with CHF, but caused only a trend toward increased PCr/ATP in the open chest state. It is possible that the antecedent high workload condition prior to drug administration blunted the effect of febuxostat on HEP in the CHF animals. Alternatively, beneficial effects of febuxostat on LV performance in the failing heart may not involve HEP. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.