We tested whether the interventions typically required for optical mapping affect activation patterns during ventricular fibrillation (VF). A 21 x 24 unipolar electrode array (1.5 mm spacing) was sutured to the left ventricular epicardium of 16 anesthetized pigs, and four episodes of electrically induced VF (30-s duration) were recorded. The hearts were then rapidly excised and connected to a Langendorff perfusion apparatus. Four of the hearts were controls, in which 24 additional VF episodes were then mapped. In the remaining 12 hearts, four VF episodes were mapped after isolation, four more episodes were mapped after exposure to the voltage-sensitive dye di-4-ANEPPS, and six more episodes were mapped after exposure to the electromechanical uncoupling agents diacetyl monoxime (DAM; 20 mmol/l, n = 6) or cytochalasin D (CytoD; 10 micromol/l, n = 6). VF episodes were separated by 4 min. VF activation patterns were quantified using custom pattern analysis algorithms. From comparisons with time-corrected control data, all interventions significantly changed VF patterns. Most changes were broadly consistent with slowing and regularization due to loss of excitability. Heart isolation had the largest effect on VF patterns, followed by CytoD, DAM, and dye.