The goal of the present study was to characterize the effects of chest compression-induced global cerebral ischemia on the hippocampal slice preparation. One of the characteristics of rats exposed to such cardiac arrest is a high susceptibility to sound-induced seizures. We tested audiogenic seizures as an in vivo indicator of ischemic cerebral damage and as a possible small animal model of epilepsy. The results of these tests were reported elsewhere. Long-Evans male rats (200-350 g) were subjected to 7 min of chest compression sufficient to stop the pumping action of the heart. The rats were then revived using cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Evaluation of cerebral damage following cardiac arrest and resuscitation was performed in vitro, by testing neuronal responses to electrical stimulation in hippocampal slices prepared from these animals. Sham control animals were used for comparisons. Twenty-one to 146 days after rats were chest-compressed, hippocampal slices were prepared. Sham control rats, anesthetized but not chest-compressed, were sacrificed one week later for preparation of slices. Rats in a second group exposed to 7-min chest compression, were sacrificed at different time intervals after their resuscitation (from 1 h to 7 days); hippocampal slices were prepared for electrophysiological analysis of neuronal damage. The results of these studies indicate that 3 weeks or longer after chest compression the evoked CA1 population spike amplitude in hippocampal slices was significantly attenuated; in 60% of these slices an epileptiform response was evoked. An increased proportion of slices prepared from rats 1 to 48 h after chest compression showed an augmentation in the amplitude of the evoked population spike; 72 h and up to 7 days after chest compression, an attenuation in the evoked CA1 population spike amplitude was observed, signaling delayed neuronal damage.