BACKGROUND--Mapping of the right free wall in patients with accessory pathways is difficult compared with that of the left free wall where the coronary sinus permits stable and accurate location of the electrodes used for endocardial mapping. Furthermore, the sequential roving catheter method is less satisfactory than multiple simultaneous electrode recordings spanning the circumference of the valve annulus. A new method for mapping the tricuspid annulus is described. METHODS--Mapping was performed in nine patients with a suspected right free wall accessory pathway or an atriofascicular connection. The tricuspid annulus was mapped using a specially shaped 1 cm interelectrode 10 pole catheter positioned in the right atrium immediately above the annulus. The coronary sinus was mapped with a 5 mm interelectrode 10 pole catheter and a 2 mm interelectrode 10 pole catheter recorded His bundle activity. Catheter positions were confirmed by multiplane fluoroscopy. Electrograms were digitised and recorded simultaneously using a custom computerised mapping system. The position of the multielectrode catheter around the tricuspid annulus relative to that of the coronary arteries was examined by coronary angiography in three patients. RESULTS--Seven right free wall and two posterior septal accessory pathways, and three atriofascicular connections were detected. Ventricular activation adjacent to both valve annuli was mapped in five patients with pre-excitation. The locations of eight of the nine accessory pathways and the three atriofascicular connections were confirmed at operative mapping. One right free wall accessory pathway in a patient with Ebstein's anomaly was not detected at operative mapping. No additional accessory pathways were found at operative mapping or routine 6 month postoperative electrophysiological study, or during a mean (SD) clinical follow up of 22 (7) months. The tricuspid annulus catheter was located during coronary angiography at a mean (SD) of about 2.5 (0.7) cm above and parallel to the right coronary artery in the right atrioventricular groove. CONCLUSIONS--This new catheter technique permits rapid detailed mapping of atrial and ventricular activation around the tricuspid annulus with a resolution of at least < or = % 1 cm, depending on the number and spacing of electrodes in each catheter. The technique was accurate as judged by mapping at surgery. This method is simple and safe compared with that of others for mapping the right free wall via the right coronary artery. It should facilitate detection and ablation of right free wall accessory pathways and atriofascicular connections.