A noncomparative pilot study was conducted to assess the potential usefulness of aztreonam in pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis. Of 27 patients initially enrolled 25 received sufficient courses of aztreonam therapy to be evaluable. All patients received 200 mg/kg/day of aztreonam in 4 equally divided doses administered intravenously. Of 57 isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from pretherapy sputum cultures, 48 were susceptible to aztreonam in vitro as were 11 of 18 strains isolated at the conclusion of therapy. With treatment colony counts of P. aeruginosa in sputum were reduced by 3 log10 or more in 15 patients. It was totally (but temporarily) eradicated in 11 of these patients. Clinical scores and white blood cell counts improved significantly (P less than 0.05). Side effects of aztreonam were limited to transient elevations of liver enzymes occurring in 16 patients. Aztreonam merits further evaluation in a randomized, comparative trial with standard antibiotic therapy for cystic fibrosis.