A method using cryosurgery has been previously described to selectively ablate atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia while preserving intact atrioventricular conduction. The purpose of the present study was to define the histologic features of the cryolesions in relation to the specialized conduction system. In 12 adult dogs a series of nine discrete cryolesions was placed along the perimeter of the triangle of Koch while continuously monitoring the His bundle electrogram. All animals survived the operation and maintained intact atrioventricular conduction. At 14 weeks after surgery the hearts were sectioned and examined. In all 12 animals there was a confluent mass of dense fibrous tissue present in the lower atrial septum that was in immediate proximity to but did not involve the atrioventricular node-His bundle. The ablation of perinodal tissue with preservation of the specialized conduction system with the use of this cryosurgical technique was confirmed. It is likely that the cryoablated perinodal tissue represents the proximal common pathway of the circuit for atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia.