This paper reports on the health system resources used in the treatment of in-hospital cardiac arrests in a British district general hospital. The resources used in resuscitation attempts were recorded prospectively by observation of a convenience sample of 30 cardiac arrests. The post-resuscitation resource use by survivors was collected through a retrospective record review (n = 37) and by following survivor members in the prospective sample (n = 6). Financial data were used to translate resource use into costs (1999 prices). There was a non-significant trend for more resources to be used in daytime resuscitations than at night. Survivors had significantly fewer diagnostic tests during resuscitation than those who died (P = 0.004). Length of resuscitation attempt was positively and significantly related to resource use (P < 0.05). The average variable cost per resuscitation attempt (1999 prices) was 195.66 pounds sterling; 76.5% was for staff, and 13.1% for drugs and fluids. Emergency calls were attended by an average of 10.11 staff. The average fixed cost per resuscitation attempt was 928.81 pounds sterling; 12% for capital equipment and 73% for staff training. The average post-resuscitation costs attributable to the cardiac arrest of the 29 people surviving more than 24 h after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were estimated to be 1,589.72 pounds sterling. This is lower than other studies which estimated total costs of post-CPR lengths of stay. Reducing avoidable cardiac arrests would generate in-hospital savings in direct resuscitation care of survivors. Scope for reducing capital and training costs is discussed.