Abstract Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The SCA-to-resuscitation interval is a key determinant of patient outcomes, highlighting the clinical need for reliable and timely detection of SCA. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a non-invasive optical technique, may have utility for this application. We investigated transcutaneous NIRS as a method to detect pentobarbital-induced changes during cardiac arrest in eight Yucatan miniature pigs. NIRS measurements during cardiac arrest were compared to invasively acquired carotid blood pressure and partial oxygen pressure (PO 2 ) of spinal cord tissues. We observed statistically significant decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP) 64.68 mmHg ± 13.08, p textless 0.0001), spinal cord PO 2 (38.16 mmHg ± 20.04, p = 0.0028), and NIRS-derived tissue oxygen saturation (TSI%) (14.50% ± 3.80, p textless 0.0001) from baseline to 5 min after pentobarbital administration. Euthanasia-to-first change in hemodynamics for MAP and TSI (%) were similar [MAP (10.43 ± 4.73 s) vs TSI (%) (12.04 ± 1.85 s), p = 0.3714]. No significant difference was detected between NIRS and blood pressure-derived pulse rates during baseline periods ( p textgreater 0.99) and following pentobarbital administration ( p = 0.97). Transcutaneous NIRS demonstrated the potential to identify rapid hemodynamic changes due to cardiac arrest in periods similar to invasive indices. We conclude that transcutaneous NIRS monitoring may present a novel, non-invasive approach for SCA detection, which warrants further investigation.