Background: Ventricular fibrillation (VF) during prolonged (>5 min) global ischemia (GI) could be due to repetitive endocardial focal discharges (REFDs). This hypothesis was tested in isolated rabbit hearts. Methods and Results: With optical mapping, simultaneous endocardial (left ventricle, LV) and epicardial (both ventricles) activations during VF with prolonged GI were studied (protocol I, 8 hearts). Lugol solution was applied to the LV endocardium in additional 5 hearts after 5-min GI (protocol II). During prolonged GI, sustained VF (>30 s) was successfully induced in 7 protocol I hearts. The dominant frequency of summed optical signals at the LV endocardium was higher than at the epicardium (P<0.05). Mapping data showed that after 5-min GI, REFDs were present in >90% for recording time. There were 18 windows of optical recording showing spontaneous VF termination. In 10, once REFDs ceased, the VF episode terminated immediately. Electrical defibrillation was also performed on 3 hearts. Eight shocks showed early VF recurrence after successful defibrillation. REFDs were consistently involved in the initiation period of recurrence. In protocol II, Lugol subendocardial ablation diminished REFD genesis during re-induced VF. These VF episodes were all non-sustained. Conclusions: REFDs at the LV endocardium were important for both VF maintenance and post-shock recurrence during prolonged GI in this model.