Block of Na(+) channel conductance by ranolazine displays marked atrial selectivity that is an order of magnitude higher that of other class I antiarrhythmic drugs. Here, we present a Markovian model of the Na(+) channel gating, which includes activation-inactivation coupling, aimed at elucidating the mechanisms underlying this potent atrial selectivity of ranolazine. The model incorporates experimentally observed differences between atrial and ventricular Na(+) channel gating, including a more negative position of the steady-state inactivation curve in atrial versus ventricular cells. The model assumes that ranolazine requires a hydrophilic access pathway to the channel binding site, which is modulated by both activation and inactivation gates of the channel. Kinetic rate constants were obtained using guarded receptor analysis of the use-dependent block of the fast Na(+) current (I(Na)). The model successfully reproduces all experimentally observed phenomena, including the shift of channel availability, the sensitivity of block to holding or diastolic potential, and the preferential block of slow versus fast I(Na.) Using atrial and ventricular action potential-shaped voltage pulses, the model confirms significantly greater use-dependent block of peak I(Na) in atrial versus ventricular cells. The model highlights the importance of action potential prolongation and of a steeper voltage dependence of the time constant of unbinding of ranolazine from the atrial Na(+) channel in the development of use-dependent I(Na) block. Our model predictions indicate that differences in channel gating properties as well as action potential morphology between atrial and ventricular cells contribute equally to the atrial selectivity of ranolazine. The model indicates that the steep voltage dependence of ranolazine interaction with the Na(+) channel at negative potentials underlies the mechanism of the predominant block of I(Na) in atrial cells by ranolazine.