Heart failure is a major public health problem affecting over 23 million people worldwide. In this study, we present the results of a large scale meta-analysis of heart failure GWAS and replication in a comparable sized cohort to identify one known and two novel loci associated with heart failure. Heart failure sub-phenotyping shows that a new locus in chromosome 1 is associated with left ventricular adverse remodeling and clinical heart failure, in response to different initial cardiac muscle insults. Functional characterization and fine-mapping of that locus reveal a putative causal variant in a cardiac muscle specific regulatory region activated during cardiomyocyte differentiation that binds to the ACTN2 gene, a crucial structural protein inside the cardiac sarcolemma (Hi-C interaction p-value = 0.00002). Genome-editing in human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes confirms the influence of the identified regulatory region in the expression of ACTN2. Our findings extend our understanding of biological mechanisms underlying heart failure.