Objectives. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that reperfusion therapy with thrombolysis will prevent the development of significant mitral regurgitation in patients with inferior myocardial infarction. Background. The value of thrombolytic therapy in patients with inferior or posterior wall myocardial infarction has been controversial. We hypothesized that successful reperfusion therapy with intravenous thrombolysis may reduce the incidence and severity of postinfarction mitral regurgitation in this patient group. Methods. We prospectively studied 104 patients with a first inferior myocardial infarction. Thrombolytic therapy was administered to 55 patients (treatment group) 3.2 ± 2.1 h after the onset of symptoms. The other 49 patients formed the control group. Doppler echocardiographic color flow imaging was performed in all patients within 24 h, at 7 to 10 days and at 28 to 30 days after myocardial infarction. Significant mitral regurgitation was defined as moderate or severe (grade 2 or 3). Results. No significant differences in baseline clinical characteristics were observed between the treatment and control groups. The overall incidence rates of significant mitral regurgitation at 24 h, 7 to 10 days and at 28 to 30 days were 10 (10%) of 104 patients, 18 (17%) of 104 patients and 11 (11%) of 100 patients, respectively. Multivariate analysis reveals the following independent predictors of the occurrence of significant mitral regurgitation: female gender (at 7 to 10 days, odds ratio 5.3, 99% confidence interval [CI]1.8 to 15.5; at 28 to 30 days, odds ratio 3.7, 90% CI 1.1 to 12.7), heart failure (at 7 to 10 days, odds ratio 7.7, 90% CI 2.2 to 26.9) and transient complete atrioventricular block (at 24 h of myocardial infarction, odds ratio 5.8, 90% CI 1.2 to 27). Compared with the control group, the treatment group exhibited marked reduction in the incidence of significant mitral regurgitation at 24 h (16% vs. 4%; odds ratio 0.1, 90% CI 0.0 to 0.7); at 7 to 10 days (24% vs. 11%; odds ratio 0.3, 90% CI 0.1 to 0.9) and at 28 to 30 days (15% vs. 7%; odds ratio 0.4, 90% CI 0.1 to 1.6). Severe (grade 3) mitral regurgitation developed in five patients in the control group but in no patient in the treatment group. Conclusions. Thrombolytic therapy in the patients with a first inferior myocardial infarction was associated with a reduced incidence of significant mitral regurgitation. These results support the use of such therapy in patients with inferior myocardial infarction.