The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of ventilation on electrocardiographic time intervals as a function of the light-dark (LD) cycle in an in vivo rat model. RR, PQ, QT and QTc intervals were measured in female Wistar rats anaesthetized with both ketamine and xylazine (100 mg/15 mg/kg, i.m., open chest experiments) after adaptation to the LD cycle (12:12h) for 4 weeks. Electrocardiograms (ECG) were recorded before surgical interventions; after tracheotomy, and thoracotomy, and 5 minutes of stabilization with artificial ventilation; 30, 60, 90 and 120 seconds after the onset of apnoea; and after 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes of artificial reoxygenation. Time intervals in intact animals showed significant LD differences, except in the QT interval. The initial significant (p<0,001) LD differences in PQ interval and loss of dependence on LD cycle in the QT interval were preserved during short-term apnoea-induced asphyxia (30–60 sec) In contrast, long-term asphyxia (90–120 sec) eliminated LD dependence in the PQ interval, but significant LD differences were shown in the QT interval. Apnoea completely abolished LD differences in the RR interval. Reoxygenation restored the PQ and QT intervals to the pre-asphyxic LD differences, but with the RR intervals, the LD differences were eliminated. We have concluded that myocardial vulnerability is dependent on the LD cycle and on changes of pulmonary ventilation.