Increased serum uric acid (UA) is associated with incident heart failure (HF). However, whether it is a direct effect of UA or an effect of increased xanthine oxidase (XO) is unknown. Because hyperuricemia in hyperinsulinemia is primarily due to impaired renal UA excretion, its association with incident HF would suggest a direct UA effect. In contrast, hyperuricemia in normoinsulinemia is likely due to increased UA production and thus its association with incident HF would suggest an XO effect. To clarify this, we examined the association of hyperuricemia with centrally adjudicated incident HF in Cardiovascular Health Study participants with and without hyperinsulinemia. Of the 5,411 participants <65 years of age without baseline HF, 1,491 (28%) had hyperuricemia (serum UA <6 mg/dl for women and <7 mg/dl for men). Propensity scores for hyperuricemia were estimated using 63 baseline characteristics. Mean serum UA levels were 6.0 and 5.3 mg/dl in those with (n = 2,731) and those without (n = 2,680) hyperinsulinemia (median serum insulin <13 mU/L), respectively (p <0.001). Propensity-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for hyperuricemia-associated incident HF during 8 years of median follow-up were 0.99 (0.83 to 1.18, p = 0.886) and 1.32 (1.04 to 1.67, p = 0.021) for those with and without hyperinsulinemia respectively (p for interaction = 0.014). In conclusion, the absence of an association of hyperuricemia with incident HF in those with hyperinsulinemia (despite a significantly higher mean serum UA) and a significant association in normoinsulinemia suggest that UA has no intrinsic association with incident HF and that it may predict incident HF when it is a marker of increased of XO activity. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.