The aim of this study was to analyze magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometry and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in patients with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and determine the viability of such measurements for predicting cerebral outcome. The subjects were 26 patients with histories of cardiopulmonary resuscitation who had subsequently developed encephalopathy. We examined the CBF using stable xenon-computed tomography (Xe-CT) and MR images in the subacute period (8-20 days). Three signal-change patterns in the basal ganglia emerged in the MRI study. The first pattern, isointense areas evident in both the T1-weighted image (T1WI) and the T2-weighted image (T2WI), was observed in four patients with favorable outcomes. The second pattern, iso- or hypointense areas evident in the T1WI and hyperintense areas evident in the T2WI, was observed in six patients with favorable outcomes and three patients with poor outcomes. The third pattern, hyperintense areas evident in both the T1WI and T2WI, was observed in 13 patients with poor outcomes. Hemispheric CBFs were 38.9+/-4.6 (mean (SD)) ml/100 g/min in patients with favorable outcomes and 25.3+/-4.3 ml/100 g/min in patients with poor outcomes (p < 0.01). The CBF increase after acetazolamide administration was 13.3+/-3.4 ml/100 g/min in patients with favorable outcomes and 6.8+/-5.6 ml/100 g/min in patients with poor outcomes ( p < 0.05). The presence of hyperintense lesions in the basal ganglia in T1WI, low hemispheric CBF ( < 30 ml/100 g/min), and low acetazolamide reactivity ( < 10 ml/100 g/min) are all factors associated with poor outcome in patients with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.