The atrial vulnerable periods (AVP) for shock induction of atrial fibrillation (AF) in humans have not been clearly defined. Furthermore, the safety and efficacy of using low energy biatrial shock delivered transvenously for AF induction are unknown. We tested the safety and efficacy of using very low energy biatrial shocks, delivered between the right atrium and the coronary sinus for AF induction and used this technique to characterize the AVP in nine controls and nine patients with AF. Thirty-volt and 60-V 3/3-ms biphasic shocks were delivered, starting from 50 ms before the atrial effective refractory period with 20-ms increments until the end of the QRS interval to determine the AVP front, AVP end, and the AVP duration. Successful AF induction could be achieved in eight (89%) of the nine controls and in nine (100%) of the nine patients with AF without any complication. In patients with AF, the AVP front started significantly earlier within the QRS complex, and the AVP duration and the AVP duration/QRS percent ratios were also significantly greater as compared to controls. Furthermore, a higher induction shock energy in patients with AF was associated with an increase in AF inducibility and significantly increased the AVP duration and AVP duration/QRS percent ratio as compared to the controls. This study demonstrated the safe and efficacy of delivering a very low energy biatrial shock during the AVP within the R wave for AF induction. The characteristics of AVP in patients with AF were significantly different from normal subjects.