The effect of simultaneous infusions of low-dose recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and single-chain urokinase-type plasminogen activator (scu-PA, pro-urokinase) on coronary arterial thrombolysis was investigated in 23 patients treated within 6 hours (mean 2.6 +/- 1.1, range 1.2 to 5.9) of symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction. Infarct artery patency at 90 minutes was achieved in 16 (70%, 95% confidence limits of 0.47 to 0.87) of 23 patients after a 1-hour intravenous infusion of 20 and 16.3 mg of t-PA and scu-PA, respectively. At 90 minutes, the fibrinogen concentration decreased from 369 +/- 207 to 316 +/- 192 mg/dl (p = not significant), while plasminogen decreased to 69 +/- 24% (p = 0.001) and alpha-2-antiplasmin to 77 +/- 24% (p = 0.001) of pretreatment values. Although no bleeding requiring termination of drug infusion or transfusion occurred, 1 patient with cerebrovascular amyloidosis had a fatal intracerebral hemorrhage. These findings suggest that combination therapy may allow substantial reductions in total thrombolytic doses while still achieving effective fibrin-specific coronary thrombolysis.