Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was attempted in 222 cases of sudden death at the City Hospital, Reykjavik, during 1976-79. Of the 68 patients (31%) successfully resuscitated, 47 died in the hospital and 21 (9%) were discharged, 17 in good mental and physical condition. The mean combined response and transport time was 12.1 min and the ambulance mean time of response 7.3 min. The first ECG revealed considerable prognostic indications. Of the 90 patients who had ventricular fibrillation on admission, 42 (47%) were successfully resuscitated and 18 (20%) were subsequently discharged. Among 114 patients with asystole, resuscitation was successful in 23 (20%) and two (2%) were discharged. Immediate first aid in situ had a definite prognostic influence. These results compare favourably with those obtained elsewhere where the organization of first aid and emergency transport is similar. They do not, however, match the results achieved by fully specialized resuscitation teams trained to operate outside the hospital. Results of CPR of patients with cardiac arrest out of hospital in Reykjavik show increasing improvement over the years. This may be partly explained by a considerable public debate on this issue in 1978 and subsequent streamlining of activities.