We report on the successful repeated treatment of a patient with rapidly progressive severe brain-stem stroke by application of I.V. tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This treatment twice led to a prompt remission of severe brain-stem symptoms, although a permanent therapeutic success could not be achieved. Unfortunately, the patient died a few days later from pneumonia and sepsis. Necropsy revealed bilateral partial brain-stem infarctions and a subtotal stenosis of the vertebrobasilar junction with superimposed fresh thrombus. The clinically dramatic response to tPA indicates that this type of treatment is potentially successful in high-grade subtotal basal cerebral artery stenosis with progressive stroke symptoms. In particular, application of tPA should be considered if stroke progression cannot stopped by therapeutic heprinization. A prospective randomized oligocentric study is advocated.