Heart failure (HF) is a major cause of mortality and disability in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study sought to improve the assessment of HF risk in patients with T2DM-a step that would be critical for effective HF screening.A systematic literature search was performed on electronic databases including MEDLINE and EMBASE, using MeSH terms 'heart failure', 'risk factor', 'T2DM', 'cardiac dysfunction', 'stage B heart failure', 'incident heart failure', 'risk assessment', 'risk impact', 'risk score', 'predictor', 'prediction' and related free text terms. The search was limited to human studies in full-length publications in English language journal from 1946 to 2014. Univariable and multivariable relative risk (RR) and hazard ratio (HR) were obtained from each study.Twenty-one studies (n=1111,569, including 507,637 subjects with T2DM) were included in this analysis with a follow-up ranging from 1 to 12 years. Associations between incident HF and risk variables described in ≥3 studies were reported. This association was greatest for insulin use (HR 2.48; 1.24-4.99), HbA1c 7.0-8.0% (2.41; 1.62-3.59), 5 years increase in age (1.47; 1.25-1.73), fasting glucose (1.28; 1.10-1.51 per standard deviation) and HbA1c (1.18; 1.14-1.23 each 1% increase). After adjustment for confounders, there were strong associations with coronary artery disease (1.77; 1.31, 2.39), HbA1c ≥ 10% (1.66; 1.45-1.89), insulin use (1.43; 1.14-1.79), HbA1c 9.0-10.0% (1.31; 1.14-1.50), fasting glucose (1.27; 1.10-1.47 per standard deviation) and 5 years increase in age (1.26; 1.13-1.40).Among patients with T2DM, five common clinical variables are associated with significantly increased risk of incident HF.