The thermal effects of acute electric trauma to living cells show some variation patterns and kinetics for different body components (muscle, bone, blood-vein and skin). Thermal energy transfer is random with no preferred directions, but electrical energy transfer is vectorial in the direction of the current. In the present study, a total 50 white male Wistar Albino rats, body weight 250-300 g, have been used to study electrical injury mechanism with subsequent change in muscle perfusion at different post-traumatic stages. The muscle temperature was found to increase with a sudden jump from 35.3 +/- 1.2 to 75.2 +/- 7.6 degreesC. The bone temperature increased from 35.2 +/- 1.4 to 45.8 +/- 1.2 degreesC and decayed slowly within 600 +/- 90 s. The venous blood curves show a similar pattern to that of muscle with a sudden jump of temperature from 36.4 +/- .9 to 40.5 +/- 3.1 degreesC. The core temperature showed a flat pattern with a slight increase from 36.1 +/- 0.8 to 37.3 +/- 0.6 degreesC and the peak temperature was found after 70 +/- 10 s. From the scintigraphic study, muscle perfusion was found to be a minimum 72 h after electric shock. The right hind limbs of all the rats (ground) exhibited more intense histopathological damages (electric burns) than the left fore limb (source). (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.