Sixty-eight adults with cardiac arrest (asystole and electromechanical dissociation) were randomly allocated for treatment with standard (1 mg) or high-dose epinephrine (5 mg). If the first dose of adrenaline 11 or 5 mg) failed, standardized advanced life-support was applied in all cases. High-dose adrenaline was associated with higher initial resuscitation success rates (16 of 28) than standard-dose adrenaline (6 of 40), whereas hospital discharge rates were not significantly different between the groups. Blood pressure was significantly higher in the high-dose adrenaline group in comparison to the standard dose at 1 and 5 min after resuscitation. Although high-dose adrenaline appears to improve cardiac resuscitation success, the duration of global cerebral ischaemia seems to determine the ultimate outcome.