Monophasic action potential (MAP) recording with non-suction, ‘contact’ electrode catheters has been shown possible and safe during clinical catheterization, but direct validation of this new technique is lacking. We therefore recorded these contact electrode MAPs simultaneously with transmembrane action potentials (TAPs) from closely adjacent sites in perfused and superfused rabbit septum preparations and performed a quantitative comparison between the two signals for duration and area at 30, 60 and 90% repolarization. To obtain a variety of action potential durations and configurations for the comparison, the rate and rhythm of stimulation and the extracellular calcium or potassium ion concentration were changed. With action potential duration at 90% repolarization made to vary from 150 to 513 ms, the mean absolute difference +/- SD between the simultaneous intra- and extracellular recordings was 5.4 +/- 11.3 ms and the linear correlation coefficient was r = 0.96 +/- 0.03. Similar agreement between the two types of recordings was found for measurements for area and at 60 and 30% repolarization levels. These data confirm that MAPs recorded with this clinically safe contact electrode technique can be used to measure accurately the repolarization time course of transmembrane action potentials.