Objectives. This study sought to investigate the impact of surgical revascularization on outcome after myocardial infarction. Background. Small variations in rates of coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) were noted among thrombolytic regimens in the Global Utilization of Streptokinase and Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Occluded Coronary Arteries (GUSTO) trial, prompting the question of whether survival differences were partly related to differences in CABG rates. Methods. Patients in the GUSTO trial were randomized to one of four thrombolytic strategies. Of 40,861 patients with complete data, 3,526 underwent surgical revascularization during their initial hospital admission. Thirty-day and 1-year mortality rates were estimated using Kaplan-Meier techniques, and the impact of CABG as a time-dependent covariate on death was evaluated using a Cox survival model, adjusting for baseline prognostic factors. Results. The median time from study enrollment to CABG was 7 days across treatment groups. A 15% reduction in mortality for the tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA)-treated group was evident by the seventh day. Bypass surgery was a significant independent predictor of 30-day mortality (risk ratio 1.87) and a weaker predictor of 1-year mortality (risk ratio 1.21). Operative mortality was highest in patients with acute mitral regurgitation, ventricular septal defect or poor left ventricular function and in those undergoing CABG within the first 4 days of randomization. Conclusions. The survival benefit of accelerated t-PA was not related to surgical revascularization. Bypass surgery was associated with excess mortality in the first year, but the added short-term mortality associated with CABG may be balanced by anticipated long-term benefit in specific groups of patients.