To assess the efficacy of intravenous streptokinase in patients with acute myocardial infarction, 40 patients (30 men and 10 women, mean age 54 years) with acute myocardial infarction were given 1.5 million U of streptokinase intravenously in 1 hour, and coronary arteriography was performed repeatedly to assess reperfusion. Streptokinase treatment was begun 270 ± 86 (mean ± SD) minutes after the onset of chest pain. Of the 40 patients, 34 had total or near total coronary occlusion before streptokinase administration. In 14 (41%) of these 34 patients, some reperfusion occurred during the 90 minutes after the administration of streptokinase, but in only 11 of the 14 was reperfusion present at 90 minutes. After streptokinase administration, all patients received heparin for 8 to 10 days; they were subsequently administered aspirin and dipyridamole. Clinical evidence of reocclusion during the first 24 hours of heparin therapy occurred in one patient. Thus, when given to patients with acute myocardial infarction and total coronary occlusion an average of 4½ hours after the onset of chest pain, high dose intravenous streptokinase achieves reperfusion in only about 40% and results in sustained reperfusion in only about 30%.