A possible relationship between muscle cell injury or deterioration and enhanced halothane sensitivity was studied by monitoring mechanical responses of skeletal muscles from normal pigs and pigs susceptible to malignant hyperthermia (MH). Increased time postbiopsy and decreased maximum control tetanic tension both correlated significently with enhanced sensitivity to halothane. In both normal and MHsusceptible (MHS) muscles, greater halothane sensitivity was observed in cut cell than in intact cell bundles and in low tetanic tension as compared to high tension preparations. Subsequent to halothane exposure, twitches of high tension (≥ 1.75 kg · cm −2) intact bundles of both normal and MHS muscles were potentiated. Tetani of normal intact bundles were not altered, whereas those of MHS bundles were depressed after halothane exposure. Control twitch‐to‐tetanus ratios (twitch ratios) were higher in MHS (0.23) than in normal (0.12) intact bundles. According to discriminant analysis, the best distinction between normal and MHS muscles, either cut or intact, was obtained by comparing halothane‐induced changes in tetanic tension and control twitch ratios.