Previous reports indicate that patients who do not develop Q waves after thrombolytic therapy are a different population with a better long-term survival than those who do develop Q waves. However, the use of resources, quality of life, and health status of this population have not been fully evaluated. Using data from the Economics and Quality of Life subset of the Global Utilization of Streptokinase and tPA for Occluded Arteries study, we examined 30-day and 1-year mortality, use of resources, and quality-of-life measures among 1,830 of 3,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction and ST-segment elevation treated with thrombolytic therapy. At hospital discharge, 555 patients (30.2%) had not developed Q waves. These patients had lower mortality than patients with Q waves at 30 days (1.6% vs 4.5%, p <0.01) and at 1 year (4.7% vs 6.8%, p <0.04). Recurrent chest pain and dyspnea were similar at 30 days and 1 year. Patients without Q waves had significantly more angiography and trends toward higher readmission, revascularization, and use of calcium antagonists at 30 days. Angiography, revascularization, readmission, and quality of life were equivalent from 30 days to 1 year, with no sign of late instability. Logistic regression analysis showed an association between in-hospital revascularization and better survival and quality of life at 1 year. Conversely, there was no association between in-hospital use of calcium antagonists and outcome to explain the lower mortality in non-Q-wave patients. The absence of Q waves after thrombolytic therapy is a marker of success, implying better prognosis and equivalent quality of life, use of resources, and health status than for patients with Q-wave acute myocardial infarction and no sign of long-term unstable clinical course.