Abstract The present study evaluated the effects of sildenafil using the 4-vessel occlusion (VO)/internal carotid artery (ICA) model of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (HCC). We previously found that permanent, three-stage occlusion of the vertebral arteries (VA) and ICA, four-VO/ICA, with an interstage interval (ISI) of 7 days was innocuous and caused no structural or functional outcomes in rats. Therefore, before testing sildenafil, we evaluated how a reduction in the number of occlusion stages (from three stages to two) and a shortening of the ISI might impact the survival rate, capacity for learning and memory, and histomorphological integrity of the hippocampus. Survival decreased from 100% to 70%, 62%, and 0% as the ISI was shortened from 7 to 5, 4, or 3 days, respectively. Using the two shortest ISIs, sildenafil (0.75–3.0 mg/kg, p.o.) abolished the mortality rate by approximately 95%. Profound neurodegeneration occurred in the CA1, CA2, CA3, and CA4 hippocampal subfields after an ISI of 4 days. Despite this, however, memory performance was unaffected. Subsequently, sildenafil treatment reduced 4-VO/ICA-induced hippocampal damage. The present results suggest that sildenafil may be potentially beneficial in the treatment of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. Further studies should examine the manner by which the chronic 4-VO/ICA model may effectively cause cognitive impairment, thus improving its applicability in testing the effects of drugs against structural and/or functional outcomes of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion.