A retrospective chart review was conducted to examine risk factors associated with the occurrence of choreoathetosis, a rare but significant complication of open-heart surgery in children. Ten children were identified as having developed choreoathetosis after cardiac surgery. Their charts were reviewed and compared with 33 age- and diagnosis-matched controls who underwent open-heart surgery during the same time period. Children with choreoathetosis reached lower rectal and esophageal temperatures (p = 0.0018 for both) and spent a greater portion of total bypass time at lower rectal and esophageal temperatures (p < 0.001 for both). Duration of cooling below 20°C esophageal temperature and PaCO2 at the end of the cooling period were significant predictors of choreoathetosis (p = 0.023 and p = 0.0497, respectively) in a logistic regression model, and a greater fraction of choreoathetosis patients had prior developmental delays (p = 0.017). No difference was found in the age at surgery, duration of bypass, aortic cross-clamp time, arterial pH, PaCO2 or mean arterial pressure. The combination of extended exposure to profound hypothermia and alpha-stat pH management strategy and preexisting developmental delay are associated with the development of choreoathetosis following open-heart surgery 61 in children.