To evaluate the hemodynamic consequences of various cardiac arrhythmias, hemodynamic and angiographic studies were performed on 20 open-chest, atrioventricular (AV) heart-blocked dogs during various programmed pacing protocols. Protocols included AV pacing at intervals of 100 msec and -100 msec, ventricular (V) pacing during AV dissociation, and V pacing during atrial fibrillation (AF). In addition, the effects of regular versus irregular V pacing were also evaluated. During regular V pacing, cardiac output was optimal at an AV interval of 100 msec, but decreased by 25% at AV -100 msec and by 18% during both AV dissociation and AF. During irregular V cycles, cardiac output decreased further (e.g., by an additional 7% during AF). Pulmonary venous regurgitation was observed only during AV dissociation and during regular pacing at AV -100 msec. Notably, mitral valvular regurgitation was observed only during irregular V cycles, but not during regular V pacing, even in the presence of AV dissociation or AF. Using these methods it was possible to resolve some previously reported controversies regarding the relative importance of AV sequencing, atrial systole versus AF, regular versus irregular rhythms, as well as the possible contribution of mitral and/or pulmonary venous regurgitation to the adverse hemodynamics of various cardiac arrhythmias.