To ascertain whether predischarge arteriography is beneficial in patients with acute myocardial infarction treated with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt PA), heparin and aspirin, the outcome of 197 patients in the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) HA study assigned to conservative management and routine predischarge coronary arteriography (routine catheterization group) was compared with the outcome of 1,461 patients from the TIMI IIB study assigned to conservative management without routine coronary arteriography unless ischemia recurred spontaneously or on predischarge exercise testing (selective catheterization group). The two groups were similar with regard to important baseline variables. During the initial hospital stay, coronary arteriography was performed in 93.9% of the routine catheterization group and 34.7% of the selective catheterization group (p < 0.001), but the frequency of coronary revascularization (angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery) was similar in the two groups (24.4% versus 20.7%, p = NS). Coronary arteriograms showed a predominance of zero or one vessel disease (stenosis ≥60%) in both groups (routine catheterization group 73.1%, selective catheterization group 61.3%). During the 1st year after infarction, rehospitalization for cardiac reasons and the interim performance of coronary arteriography were more common in the selective catheterization group (37.9% versus 27.6%, p = 0.007 and 28.6% versus 11.6%, p < 0.001, respectively); however, the interim rates of death, nonfatal reinfarction and performance of coronary revascularization procedures were similar. At the end of 1 year, coronary arteriography had been performed one or more times in 93.9% of the routine catheterization group and 59.4% of the selective catheterization group (p < 0.001), whereas death and nonfatal reinfarction had occurred in 10.2% versus 7.0% (p = 0.10) and 8.6% versus 9.0% (p = 0.87), respectively. Because the selective coronary arteriography policy exposes about 40% fewer patients to the small but finite risks and inconvenience of the procedure without compromising the 1 year survival or reinfarction rates, it seems to be an appropriate management strategy. © 1991.