The function of the heart was studied in 20 asphyxiated term neonates by measuring the longitudinal peak systolic strain and peak systolic strain rate by tissue Doppler in 18 segments of the heart on days 1, 2, and 3 of life. The fractional shortening was assessed at each examination as well. Measurements were compared against measurements in 48 healthy term neonates examined by the same protocol. The function of the heart was lower in the asphyxiated neonates - peak systolic strain (mean (95% confidence interval) -19.4% (-20.4, -18.5), peak systolic strain rate -1.65 (-1.74, -1.56) per second) than in the healthy term neonates (peak systolic strain -21.7% (-22.3, -21.0), peak systolic strain rate -1.78 (-1.84, -1.74) per second; p < 0.001). Fractional shortening was similar in the asphyxiated (29.2% (26.8, 31.5)) and healthy term neonates (29.0% (27.9, 30.1); p = 0.874). The peak systolic strain differed significantly between the asphyxiated and healthy term neonates for the left basal and right basal groups of segments (p < 0.05) but not for the left apical, right apical, septum apical, or septum basal groups of segments. The peak systolic strain rate differed significantly only for the septum apical group of segments. The differences were largest on the second day of life. Measurements were similar in asphyxiated neonates with elevated and normal cardiac troponin T levels. The peak systolic strain and strain rate were in this study more sensitive indices than fractional shortening for assessing the reduced myocardial function in asphyxiated term neonates.