The characteristics of spontaneous cardiac arrhythmias leading to sudden cardiac death are largely unknown. To study arrhythmias in animal models, an eight-channel implantable radio telemetry system has been developed to record continuously cardiac electrograms over a period of weeks to months, with maintenance restricted to changing batteries. The inputs are connected in a unipolar manner. Each channel has a gain of fifty and is AC coupled, band limited to 0.07-260 Hz. The signals are digitized with 12 bits resolution at 1000 samples/s. The amplifiers, analog-to-digital converter, and control logic are packaged in an implantable unit. An umbilical cable is passed through the skin to an external backpack unit for power and data transmission. A custom serial interface card, a PC/104 form factor 25-MHz 80386-based single-board computer with a PCMCIA wireless local area network (WLAN) card, and battery power supply make up the backpack. Data are read into the parallel port of the computer, buffered, then transmitted over the WLAN to the laboratory network where it can be analyzed and archived. Approximately 12 h of 14 000 bytes/s data can be collected with each set of batteries. The system is suitable for continuous monitoring of animal models of spontaneous arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.