The accurate diagnosis and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important public health goal. Although clinical characteristics such as age and gender are well-established risk factors for CVD, such features are not sufficient to identify all patients at risk. Cardiovascular biomarkers have the potential to augment clinical risk stratification by aiding in screening, diagnosis and assessment of prognosis. However, most current biomarkers have only modest predictive value, and there is a need to identify additional biomarkers from new biological pathways. The availability of platforms for profiling DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites in clinical specimens has facilitated the 'unbiased' search for new biomarkers, which can now be tested in a clinical setting. This review highlights recent developments in the field of cardiovascular biomarkers and describes the use of new technologies for the identification of biomarkers.