Before commencing the randomized Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction phase II (TIMI II) study, 370 patients were administered intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) within 4 hours of onset of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and assigned to 2-hour (immediate) percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (n = 33), 18- to 48-hour (delayed) angioplasty (n = 288) or no angioplasty (n = 49) in a nonrandomized, observational pilot study. Left ventricular ejection fraction at rest and during exercise was assessed by gated equilibrium radionuclide ventriculography at hospital discharge and again at 6 weeks. At hospital discharge, ejection fraction averaged 50% at rest and 56% at peak exercise. At 6-week follow-up, ejection fraction averaged 50% at rest and 53% at peak exercise. At 6-week follow-up, resting ejection fraction averaged 49% in the 2-hour angioplasty group, 49% in the 18- to 48-hour angioplasty group and 55% in the no-angioplasty group. Variables independently predicting "good functional outcome" at 6-week follow-up (survival with resting ejection fraction ≥50% and no decrease with exercise) in the 18- to 48-hour angioplasty group were fewer leads with ST-segment elevation ≥0.1 mV, younger age, rapid normalization during rt-PA infusion of ST segments or dramatic relief of chest pain, absence of arrhythmias within the first 24 hours of treatment initiation, no prior infarction and not a cigarette smoker at entry. Thus, the TIMI II pilot study demonstrates that most patients with AMI of ≤4-hour duration treated with rt-PA have good ventricular function after AMI. Although nonrandom group assignment prevented rigorous statistical comparison of the 3 treatment groups, no obvious disadvantage of the more conservative noangioplasty assignment was apparent. © 1989.