Previous nuclear magnetic resonance studies in this laboratory have shown a beneficial biochemical effect of antegrade cerebroplegia (CP-A) during hypothermic circulatory arrest. This study compared CP-A with other methods of cerebral protection during hypothermic circulatory arrest to assess the clinical utility of this technique. Twenty-three sheep were divided into four groups: systemic hypothermia alone (SYST) and systemic hypothermia combined with external cranial cooling (EXTNL), retrograde cerebroplegia (CP-R), or CP-A. Cardiopulmonary bypass was started, and the sheep were cooled to 15 °C and subjected to 2 hours of circulatory arrest. Cardiopulmonary bypass was restarted, and the animals were rewarmed and weaned from cardiopulmonary bypass. Serial neurological examinations were performed and hourly scores assigned until the animals were extubated. Postanesthetic neurological scores improved in all groups throughout the 6-hour recovery period except the CP-R group. The improvement over time for these scores was similar for the EXTNL and CP-A groups and significantly better than for the SYST or CP-R groups (p = 0.004). The CP-A group had 5 of 7 animals with deficit-free survival despite the similarity in recovery of baseline brainstem function. We conclude that both antegrade infusion of cerebroplegia and external cranial cooling confer distinct cerebroprotective effects after a protracted period of hypothermic circulatory arrest when compared with the other methods studied.