Background: Although the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator effectively prevents sudden cardiac death, patients are still prone to recurrence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Electrophysiologically guided surgery is the most effective modality in abolishing ventricular tachycardia, having a lower recurrence rate than pharmacologic therapy or catheter ablation. Return cycle mapping after entrainment has been shown to localize the central common pathway, which is the target region for ablation, without pacing at the pathway or recording the potentials from the pathway. Methods: To determine the accuracy and usefulness of return cycle mapping in surgery for ventricular tachycardia, we cryoablated 8 morphologies of ventricular tachycardia induced in postinfarction dogs with the guidance of return cycle mapping. The ventricular tachycardia was entrained from 3 to 5 different epicardial sites at a paced cycle length 10 to 20 ms shorter than the ventricular tachycardia cycle length and the epicardium was mapped with 61 unipolar electrodes during cessation of entrainment to construct return cycle maps. The return cycle was determined by subtracting the first activation time from the second activation time after the last stimulus in each electrode location, and the maps were then displayed on a computer. Results: The total analysis process was completed within 3 minutes by means of a computer with custom-made programs. The activation map during ventricular tachycardia did not localize the central common pathway in any morphology of ventricular tachycardia, because the pattern of activation was concentric and diastolic potentials were not recorded. Cryoablation of the region where the isotemporal lines of the return cycle equal to the ventricular tachycardia cycle length intersected resulted in termination of ventricular tachycardia in all morphologies. The intersection was 26 ± 9 mm from the earliest activation site. Epicardial mapping with 253 electrodes during cryothermia showed that the region localized by return cycle mapping was the central common pathway sandwiched between the lines of conduction block and that the cryolesion connected the lines of block, blocked the rotating wave front, and resulted in termination of the ventricular tachycardia. Conclusion: Return cycle mapping provides an accurate and rapid means of localizing the central common pathway without the need for recording potentials from the pathway or pacing at the pathway in ablation for ventricular tachycardia.