The objective of this study was to identify factors that predict fluoroscopy duration and radiation exposure during catheter ablation procedures. The patient population included 859 patients who participated in the Atakr Ablation System clinical trial at 1 of 9 centers (398 male and 461 female patients, aged 36 +/- 21 years). Each patient underwent catheter ablation of an accessory pathway, the atrioventricular junction, or atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia using standard techniques. The duration of fluoroscopy was 53 +/- 50 minutes. Factors identified as independent predictors of fluoroscopy duration included patient age and sex, the success or failure of the ablation procedure, and the institution at which the ablation was performed. Catheter ablation in adults required longer fluoroscopy exposure than it did in children. Men required longer durations of fluoroscopy exposure than did women. The mean estimated "entrance" radiation dose was 1.3 +/- 1.3 Sv. The dose needed to cause radiation skin injury was exceeded during 22% of procedures. The overall mean effective absorbed dose from catheter ablation procedures was 0.025 Sv for female patients and 0.017 Sv for male patients. This degree of radiation exposure would result in an estimated 1,400 excess fatal malignancies in female patients and 2,600 excess fatal malignancies in male patients per 1 million patients.