A nationwide survey of transient hyperammonemia in newborns was carried out in Japan. A total of 18 patients, consisting of 12 male and 6 female infants, were reported from 11 facilities. These neonates exhibited hyperammonemia with plasma ammonia levels in the range from 124 to 6256 micrograms/dl. Four newborn infants of the 18 died in the neonatal period, and an additional one died in the early infancy. Among the 13 infants who were alive at the time of this survey, 6 had neurological sequelae, including mental retardation, spastic quadriplegia and epilepsy. The multivariate analysis revealed that the Apgar score at 1 minute, peak plasma ammonia concentration, birth weight and sex were significant factors affecting the prognosis of life.