Background: Approximately two-thirds of the mortality following out of hospital cardiac arrest is related to devastating neurological injury. Previous small cohort studies have reported an impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation following cardiac arrest, but no studies have assessed the impact of differences in oxygen and carbon dioxide tensions in addition to mean arterial pressure management. Methods: This is a protocol and statistical analysis plan to assess the correlation between changes in cerebral tissue oxygenation and arterial pressure as measure of cerebrovascular autoregulation, the tissue oxygenation index, in patients following out of hospital cardiac arrest and in healthy volunteers. The COMACARE study included 120 comatose survivors of out of hospital cardiac arrest admitted to ICU and managed with low-normal or high-normal targets for mean arterial pressure, arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures. In addition, 102 healthy volunteers have been investigated as a reference group for the tissue oxygenation index. In both cohorts, the cerebral tissue oxygenation was measured by near infrared spectroscopy. Conclusions: Cerebrovascular autoregulation is critical to maintain homoeostatic brain perfusion. This study of changes in autoregulation following out of hospital cardiac arrest over the first 48 hours, as compared to data from healthy volunteers, will generate important physiological information that may guide the rationale and design of interventional studies.