The use of thrombolytic agents for clotting disorders as compared with standard anticoagulant therapy is reviewed. The resolution rates of pulmonary emboli (PE) were examined in a comparison of streptokinase, urokinase, and heparin therapy in several studies. The effectiveness of streptokinase therapy was compared to heparin treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as well. In addition, studies on the use of thrombolytic agents for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are reviewed. Clinical studies show that although streptokinase and urokinase promote more rapid resolution of PE and DVT (as determined by perfusion lung scans, angiography, and venography), superiority over conventional treatment has not been established. The disadvantages include greater cost and more frequent bleeding episodes than anticoagulant therapy. The studies of thrombolytic agents for AMI did not find significant beneficial effects on the mortality rates. It is recommended that thrombolytic agents not be used routinely for the treatment of PE, DVT, or AMI.