A number of investigators have succeeded in preparing isolated cardiac cells by enzymatic digestion which tolerate external [Ca2+] in the millimolar range. However, a persistent problem with these preparations is that, unlike in situ adult ventricular fibres, the isolated fibres usually beat spontaneously. This spontaneity suggests persistent ionic leakage not present in situ. A preferable preparation for mechanical and electrical studies would be one which is quiescent but excitable in response to electrical stimulation and which does not undergo contracture with repeated stimulation. We report here a modified method of cardiac fibre isolation and perfusion which leaves the fibre membrane electrically excitable and moderately resistant to mechanical stress so that the attachment of suction micropipettes to the fibre is possible for force measurement and length control. Force generation in single isolated adult rat heart fibres is consistent with in situ contractile force. The negative staircase effect (treppe) characteristic of adult not heart tissue is present with increased frequency of stimulation. Isometric developed tension increases with fibre length as in in situ ventricular tissue.