The efficacy of low-dose, locally administered streptokinase (SK) combined with full therapeutic systemic doses of heparin was investigated. Seven patients with angiographically proven massive acute pulmonary embolism were treated. Streptokinase, 10,000-20,000 units/hour, was administered directly into the left or right pulmonary artery for 9 to 24 hours. Heparin was administered concurrently. The number of unperfused segments of the infused lung shown on the lung scan decreased from 5 ± 2 to 2 ± 1 after 12-24 hours (p<.01). No change was shown in the contralateral lung. The angiographic index of severity score in the infused lung decreased from 16±1 to 9±4 (p<.01). The partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood improved within four hours. In spite of the low doses of streptokinase, however, two major bleeding episodes occurred that required blood transfusion. In conclusion, low dose intrapulmonary streptokinase, combined with intravenous heparin, may provide a therapeutic option in patients with life-threatening massive acute pulmonary embolism in whom full dose lytic therapy may be hazardous, although even low dose lytic therapy was associated with risk.