The presenting electrocardiogram may contain information indicating the probability of successful reperfusion. The relation between 3 parameters in the presenting electrocardiogram (pathologic Q waves, T-wave inversion, and the slope of ST elevation) and Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction trial (TIMI) grade 3 flow in the infarct-related artery was assessed angiographically 90 minutes after beginning streptokinase in 362 patients. TIMI grade 3 flow was more common in patients without Q waves (55%) than in those with Q waves (35%; p <0.001), and more common in patients without T- wave inversion (50%) than in those with T-wave inversion (30%; p <0.002). There was no relation between the slope of the ST segment or the magnitude of its deviation and the achievement of TIMI grade 3 flow. Only 20% of the 59 patients with both Q waves and T-wave inversion had TIMI grade 3 flow, compared with 50% of the remaining patients (p <0.0001). Among patients treated within 3 hours, TIMI grade 3 flow was seen in 68% of those without versus 44% of those with Q waves (p <0.01), and in 62% of those without versus 43% of those with T-wave inversion (p = 0.06). Among patients treated after 3 hours, TIMI grade 3 flow was seen in 38% of those without versus 30% of those with Q waves (p = NS), and in 38% of those without versus 23% of those with T-wave inversion (p <0.05). On multivariate analysis, the absence of Q waves, the time from the onset of chest pain to treatment, and age were independent predictors of TIMI grade 3 flow. Pathologic Q waves in the presenting electrocardiogram provide valuable information as to the probability of achieving successful reperfusion following administration of streptokinase, and may be helpful for triage of patients to alternative reperfusion strategies, including percutaneous revascularization.