Abstract Background Acute heart failure (AHF) is a frequent reason for hospitalization worldwide and effective treatment options are limited. It is known that AHF is a condition characterized by impaired vasorelaxation, together with reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, an endogenous vasodilatory compound. Supplementation of inorganic sodium nitrate (NaNO3) is an indirect dietary source of NO, through bioconversion. It is proposed that oral sodium nitrate will favorably affect levels of circulating NO precursors (nitrate and nitrite) in AHF patients, resulting in reduced systemic vascular resistance, without significant hypotension. Methods and outcomes We propose a single center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial, evaluating the feasibility of sodium nitrate as a treatment for AHF. The primary hypothesis that sodium nitrate treatment will result in increased systemic levels of nitric oxide pre-cursors (nitrate and nitrite) in plasma, in parallel with improved vasorelaxation, as assessed by non-invasively derived systemic vascular resistance index. Additional surrogate measures relevant to the known pathophysiology of AHF will be obtained in order to assess clinical effect on dyspnea and renal function. Discussion The results of this study will provide evidence of the feasibility of this novel approach and will be of interest to the heart failure community. This trial may inform a larger study.