The purpose of this study was to investigate the increased susceptibility of the brain, after a controlled mild cortical impact injury, to a secondary ischemic insult. The effects of the duration and the timing of the secondary insult after the initial cortical injury were studied. Rats anesthetized with isoflurane underwent a 3 m/sec, 2.5-mm deformation cortical impact injury followed by hypotension to 40 mm Hg induced by withdrawing blood from a femoral vein. The duration of hypotension was varied from 40 to 60 min. The timing of 60 min of hypotension was varied from immediately post-injury to 7 days after the injury. Outcome was assessed by behavioral tasks and histological examination at 2 weeks post-injury. A separate group of animals underwent measurement of the acute physiology including mean blood pressure (MAP), intracranial pressure (ICP), and cerebral blood flow (CBF) using a laser Doppler technique. Increasing durations of hypotension resulted in marked expansion of the contusion, from 6.5±1.8 mm³ with sham hypotension to 27.1±3.9 mm³ with 60 min of hypotension. This worsening of the contusion was found only when then hypotension occurred immediately after injury or at 1 h after injury. CA3 neuron loss followed a similar pattern, but the injury group differences were not significant. Motor tasks, including beam balance and beam walking, were significantly worse following 50 and 60 min of hypotension. Performance on the Morris water maze task was also significantly related to the injury group. Studies of the acute cerebral hemodynamics demonstrated that CBF was significantly more impaired during hypotension in the animals that underwent the mild TBI compared to those that underwent sham TBI. The perfusion deficit was worst at the impact site, but also significant in the pericontusional brain. With 50 and 60 min of hypotension, CBF did not recover following resuscitation at the impact site, and recovered only transiently in the pericontusional brain. These results demonstrate that mild TBI, like more severe levels of TBI, can impair the brain's ability to maintain CBF during a period of hypotension, and result in a worse outcome.