One hundred and seventeen patients were admitted following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. After initial neurologic evaluation, they were followed prospectively until discharge or death. Seventeen patients were alert when admitted. Of these, four died and 10 of 13 survivors were neurologically normal. One hundred of the patients were unresponsive; of these, 60 died. Of 40 survivors, 15 were neurologically normal, at discharge; 15 could perform some self-care but were confused, and 10 required total care. Absence of pupillary light reaction, oculocephalic reflexes, purposeful response to pain, and spontaneous respirations were associated with high mortality and more severe neurologic deficits. However, some patients with usually unfavorable signs recovered good neurologic function.