Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

De Angus Stewart

Second Advisor

Dr Peter Roberts


Malignant hyperthermia/hyperpyrexia (MH) is a serious human skeletal muscle disorder that manifests itself during general anaesthesia. Currently, the most reliable method of diagnosing this disease is the in-vitro contracture test (IVCT). This procedure is both highly invasive for the patient and expensive to perform. The skinned muscle fibre technique is less invasive, and could possibly be used as an alternative diagnostic test for MH. In this study, skeletal muscle samples were obtained from B adults (age 23-54 years) undergoing elective surgery at Royal Perth Hospital. Six patients were diagnosed as normal (controls) and two equivocal for MH (MHE). Using the skinned muscle fibre technique (with exogenous Ca2+ and Sr2+), individual muscle fibre segments (10 from each biopsy) were tested for differences in their contractile and regulatory proteins, and the generated force per cross-sectional area (F/CSA). The results indicated that the contractile and regulatory proteins of the MHE fibres displayed altered functionality in comparison to the control fibres. The Type I MHE fibres displayed greater sensitivity to Sr+2+ (82%), whereas the Mixed MHE fibres displayed greater sensitivity to Ca2+ (90%). However, the F/CSA generated by the MHE fibres were overall less than that of the control fibres (43%), denoting statistical insignificance.