Objective: To determine whether unihemispheral hemodynamic failure is independently associated with cognitive impairment among participants in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-sponsored, multicenter, randomized clinical trial, Randomized Evaluation of Carotid Occlusion and Neurocognition (RECON). Methods: Forty-three patients were randomized into RECON after recent symptomatic carotid artery occlusion and asymmetrically increased oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) by PET (OEF ratio >1.13), indicating stage II hemodynamic failure on the side of occlusion. The PET-positive patients were compared with 28 RECON-enrolled patients who met all clinical and radiographic inclusion/exclusion criteria but had no OEF asymmetry. A multivariable regression compared patients with PET OEF >1.13 or ≤1.13, stratifying by TIA vs stroke as the qualifying event. The dependent variable was a composite neurocognitive score derived from averaging age-normalized z scores on a test battery that included global and internal carotid artery (ICA) side-relevant hemisphere-specific tests. Results: There were no differences in demographic, clinical, or radiologic characteristics between the PET-positive and PET-negative patients except for PET OEF asymmetry. The unadjusted average neurocognitive z score was -1.45 for the PET-positive and -1.25 for the PET-negative patients, indicating cognitive impairment in both groups but no difference between them (p =0.641). After adjustment for age, education, side of occlusion, depression, and previous stroke, there was a significant difference between PET-positive and PET-negative patients among those with TIA as a qualifying event (average z score = -1.41 vs -0.76, p = 0.040). Older age and right ICA side were also significant in this model. Conclusion: Hemodynamic failure is independently associated with cognitive impairment in patients with carotid occlusion. This finding establishes the physiologic parameter upon which the extracranial-intracranial bypass will be tested. Copyright © 2012 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.