Sinus node (SN) and atrioventricular node (AVN) dysfunction after repair of atrial septal defect (ASD) may be caused by inherent nodal abnormalities and not related to altered hemodynamics. To assess the preoperative prevalence and postoperative persistence of nodal dysfunction, 21 consecutive children, mean age 5.4 years, underwent electrophysiologic evaluations before ASD repair. Preoperative SN recovery time was prolonged in 11 patients and was associated with abnormal AVN response to rapid atrial pacing in 5. There were no significant differences in age, hemodynamic values or shunt size between children with normal and those with abnormal nodal function. Atrial and AVN refractory periods were normal. The ASD was repaired in 9 children with SN dysfunction. Electrophysiologic studies performed 4 to 16 months after surgical correction showed improvement in all electrophysiologic values. However, SN function remained abnormal. Significant decreases were observed in atrial (p < 0.05) and AVN (p < 0.05) refractory periods, with increased atrial conduction velocity (p < 0.01) and AVN Wenckebach response to atrial pacing (p < 0.01). ASD repair improved nodal and atrial muscle electrophysiologic function, theoretically by relieving stress on atrial impulse propagation. SN and AVN dysfunction may persist as an inherent part of the ASD complex.