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A real-time mapping system is described that allows instant display of both endocardial and epicardial activation as monitored by an array of transmural plunge-needle electrodes in the intact in situ heart. From the total cardiac muscle mass, 768 electrograms are recorded, with a programmable feature allowing the rapid and unrestricted selection of 110 endocardial electrograms for automated analysis. An activation analyzer (consisting of parallel analog circuitry) provides an activation image in real time, while video recorders provide both raw and processed data storage with the capability of immediate slow-motion replay. The nature of the data acquisition (110 plunge needles) limits this system to the experimental arrhythmia laboratory where its chief advantage is the enabling of the multichannel recording of endo data without the complications of open heart surgery. Equally important is the ability to automatically store the endocardial activation image locked in time to the simultaneously recorded epicardial image.