Simplified models of re-entry may help in our understanding of the electrophysiologic effects of class III drugs. In a model of re-entrant ventricular tachycardia around a ring of epicardium in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts, the electrophysiologic effects of class III antiarrhythmic drugs were studied and compared to those of class I drugs. Class III drugs were effective in terminating fast re-entrant ventricular tachycardias. Prolongation of the refractory period without affecting conduction velocity resulted in a closure of the excitable gap and collision of the head of the propagating impulse against its own tail of refractoriness. In slow ventricular tachycardias, despite a similar increase in refractory period, the excitable gap remained large enough to allow perpetuation of the tachycardia.