BACKGROUND The relationship between cord arterial pH (CA-pH) > 7.000 and the neonatal outcome is not clear. AIMS To evaluate if asymptomatic infants born with unexpected cord arterial pH (CA-pH) between 7.000 and 7.100 develop clinical, biochemical, and instrumental signs of hypoxic cerebral, renal, and heart failure more frequently than symptomatic infants. STUDY DESIGN Term infants with CA-pH of 7.000-7.100 and appropriate birth weight were prospectively and consecutively enrolled and classified as asymptomatic, when they had no resuscitation, early respiratory distress or early abnormal neurologic signs, and symptomatic infants. Clinical, biochemical, and instrumental signs of hypoxic cerebral, renal, and heart failure were evaluated in the two groups. RESULTS A total of 53 infants were enrolled. Twenty-eight (53%) were asymptomatic. CA-pH was similar in both the groups, while the cTnI serum concentration in the first day of life and the occurrence of poor feeding were higher in the symptomatic than in asymptomatic infants. An arterial lactate level of ≥ 4.1 mmol/l measured in the first hour of life was an independent risk factor for the development of a symptomatic course. CONCLUSIONS In our population the majority of infants born with a CA-pH between 7.000 and 7.100 were asymptomatic and would not have needed immediate admission to the neonatal care unit. Symptomatic infants showed a higher occurrence of subclinical heart injury and poor feeding.