Calcium influx is vital for several aspects of cardiac activity, so it is important to ask if heart cells possess a single or multiple types of Ca channel. Only one Ca channel type has been identified in patch-clamp studies of unitary current, despite suggestions to the contrary from whole-cell recordings in heart cells and unitary recordings from other cells. Here we describe a novel type of cardiac Ca channel with several properties that distinguish it from the hitherto-identified Ca channel in heart cells. Its conductance in isotonic Ba is small (8 pS), and is no larger in Ba than in Ca. It activates and inactivates at relatively negative potentials and remains functional long after patch excision. It is insensitive to dihydropyridines such as nimodipine and the Ca agonist Bay K 8644, and is more resistant to block by external Cd than the previously described type of cardiac Ca channel.