The aim of this study was to assess the possible adverse effects of hypothermia, used as neural rescue therapy in a newborn piglet model. Sixteen newborn piglets were subjected to transient cerebral hypoxia-ischaemia by temporary occlusion of the carotid arteries and reduction of the fractional inspired oxygen to 0.12. On resuscitation 11 piglets were maintained normothermic (38.5–39.0°C) and, in order to assess the cerebroprotective effect of hypothermia, 5 piglets were cooled to 35°C for 12 h before normothermia was resumed. At 48 or 64 h following resuscitation the animals were sacrificed and the heart, left kidney, specimens of distal small bowel, lung and liver were removed and histologically sectioned. No microscopic abnormalities of the heart, bowel or lung were observed in hypothermic or normothermic animals. All kidney specimens were normal except one from the normothermic group. Abnormal liver pathology suggestive of hypoperfusion injury was found in 5 normothermic and 3 hypothermic piglets. There was no significant difference in the proportion of piglets with liver abnormality between the two groups. Mild hypothermia following cerebral hypoxia-ischaemia in the newborn piglet was not associated with an increased incidence of non-cerebral organ damage. The hepatic injury observed may be related to umbilical venous catheterisation and has potential relevance to neonatal intensive care.