Transvenous placement of endocardial leads in children may be difficult due to restrictions and complications of vascular access. We have placed endocardial leads from a transatrial approach in 5 children with various cardiac malformations. The usual surgical approach involved an anterolateral thoracotomy and, under fluoroscopic guidance, passage of the lead tip directly through the right atrial wall and across the tricuspid valve to the apex of the right ventricle. At a mean follow-up time of 23.2 months (range, 12.0 to 27.9 months), all patients have low thresholds for myocardial capture, and there have been no complications. We conclude that placement of endocardial leads by a transatrial approach provides an excellent alternative to an epicardial system in children destined for lifelong pacing.