We studied the effects of transient focal ischemia on the electrophysiologic function of rat sciatic nerves. Focal and generalized impairment of impulse conduction, measured by falling evoked muscle and nerve compound action potential amplitudes, occurred within 10 minutes of femoral artery occlusion. Conduction failure reached a nadir at 45–60 minutes and then improved to normal within 24 hours. Fastest motor and mixed nerve conduction velocities were reduced less than 15% of baseline values during the period of acute conduction block. There were no detectable morphological abnormalities at the site of conduction failure. Transient ischemia produces reversible conduction block without evident structural changes. The fall in amplitude without significant conduction slowing implies that slower conducting myelinated fibers are relatively more sensitive to the effect of acute ischemia.