Objective To evaluate the efficacy of the continuation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) following transportation to the emergency department in a Chinese hospital after unsuccessful emergency medical services (EMS) CPR. Methods From January 2002 to December 2007, emergency records of non-traumatic patients who were transported to a tertiary teaching hospital after unsuccessful EMS CPR were reviewed. Results Eigty-five patients were included, and 13 patients (15%) accomplished restoration of spontaneous circulation in our emergency department. Resuscitative possibility reached zero at around 23 minutes. One patient was discharged with a favourable neurologic outcome. Conclusions This study shows that the continuation of CPR is not futile and may improve outcomes. The outcomes should be re-evaluated in the future when prehospital information can be combined with in-hospital information.