Optimal treatment of newborns with thromboembolic complications likely differs from that for adults because of ontogenetic features of both coagulation and fibrinolysis that affect the thrombotic processes and the response to thrombolytic agents. Although there are data on plasma clot lysis in newborns, the potential for dissolution of whole blood clots has not been explored. We investigated whether there is a difference between newborns and adults in sensitivity of whole blood clots to lysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA). Blood was obtained from 15 newborns and from 13 adults and anticoagulated with sodium citrate. Whole blood clots were generated by addition of thrombin and calcium. After 3 hours of retraction the clots were put into tubes containing 1.45 mL plasma of the same patient. After 1 hour of incubation, rt-PA was added to result in final concentrations of 3, 1, 0.3, 0.1, and 0 microg/mL. Clots were weighed after 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 hours. At any time point measured, whole blood clot lysis was more efficient in newborns than it was in adults. This was true for spontaneous clot lysis (p <0.05 at 1, 2, and 3 hours) as well as for all concentrations of rt-PA tested (p <0.05 at 1 hour). Whole blood clot lysis in new-borns was most efficient at 1 microg/mL rt-PA, whereas adults showed best lysis at the highest concentration tested (3 microg/mL rt-PA). The rate of plasminogen consumption was similar in newborns and adults. Recommendations for antithrombotic therapy in new-borns have been loosely extrapolated from recommendations for adults. Our data can be helpful in establishing guidelines for thrombolytic therapy in the neonatal period. Retracted whole blood clots mimic better the in vivo situation than previously reported in studies of lysis of nonretracted plasma clots. Based on our data, we think that despite low levels and slower activation kinetics of fetal plasminogen, the dosage of rt-PA should be lower in newborns than in adults.