Abstract Muscle biopsies from 35 patients referred for possible malignant hyperthermia were subjected to contracture testing with halothane, caffeine, and the combined agents, histopathological and fiber-type-distribution analysis, and quantitative assay of three major muscle enzymes: adenylate deaminase, adenylate kinase, and creatine kinase. Adenylate kinase and creatine kinase were in the normal range in all biopsies and each averaged 92% of expected normal value when corrected for their fiber-type distribution. Of the 14 cases with a positive halothane test, 2 had primary myoadenylate deaminase deficiency, and 5 others had low levels of this enzyme (less than one-third normal). In contrast, only 3 of 21 cases negative to halothane testing had low adenylate deaminase levels, and none were deficient. This association was significant by several statistical tests, although it would not be highly predictive for an individual case. A positive halothane test also correlated wth a high type 2 fiber contribution, but this was probably secondary, since cases with low enzyme levels had significantly higher type 2 fiber areas. Caffeine contractures did not correlate with either low enzyme levels or with fiber-type distribution. Sixty percent of the biopsies were entirely normal histologically, and showed a significant correlation with a negative combined contracture test. Data on the one family included in this study suggest separate inheritance of the trait for myoadenylate deaminase deficiency and the trait for positive contracture tests. The present findings suggest that patients with myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (and the carrier state as well) may be at increased risk of malignant hyperthermia when subjected to anesthesia.