We present a case report of successful resuscitation following cardiac arrest in a patient undergoing surgery in the prone position. A systematic review of the literature identified 22 further cases. Risk factors for intra-operative cardiac arrest in patients in the prone position include: cardiac abnormalities in patients undergoing major spinal surgery, hypovolaemia, air embolism, wound irrigation with hydrogen peroxide, poor positioning and occluded venous return. Cardiac arrest is also a risk in the increasing number of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome ventilated in the prone position. Management of prone cardiac arrest may be improved by identification of high-risk patients, careful patient positioning, use of invasive monitoring and placement of self-adhesive defibrillator paddles. Suitable techniques for cardiopulmonary resuscitation including methods for chest compression, defibrillation and the management of air embolism are discussed.