The formation of reactive oxygen species during reperfusion is one trigger for neuronal injury after global cerebral ischemia. Because formation of reactive oxygen species requires delivery of molecular oxygen to ischemic tissue, restricting inspired oxygen during reperfusion may decrease neurological damage. This study examined whether ventilation with room air rather than pure oxygen during resuscitation would improve neurological recovery after cardiac arrest in rats. Adult, male rats were subjected to 8 min of asphyxia resulting in cardiac arrest. During resuscitation, rats were ventilated either with hyperoxia (FiO2 = 1.0) or normoxia (FiO2 = 0.21, room air). Neurobehavioral deficits were scored daily for 72 h after resuscitation, after which brains were collected for histology. Normoxia decreased arterial oxygen content. Other physiological parameters and mortality did not differ between groups. All surviving rats exhibited behavioral and histological signs of brain damage. Neurological deficit scores did not differ between normoxia and hyperoxia conditions at any time point. The number of ischemic neurons in the hippocampus also did not differ between groups. These data indicate neither benefit nor detriment of reducing inspired oxygen concentration during resuscitation from asphyxial cardiac arrest in rats.