OBJECTIVE To investigate the preventive and therapeutic effects of enalapril maleate (Enalaprilat) (E) on myocardial damage in early stage after burns. METHODS A total of 60 SD rats were subjected to 30% TBSA III degree scald injury, and randomly divided into scald group (with conventional fluid transfusion after scald) and ENA group (with intraperitoneal injection of 1 mg/kg Enalaprilat after scald). Normal control consisted of 6 rats. Plasma levels of cTnI and CK-MB were determined in all the groups at 1, 3, 6, 12, 24 post-scald hours (PSH) by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The pathological changes in myocardium were observed at the same time-points. RESULTS (1) The serum level of cTnI and CK-MB in scald group were significantly higher than that of normal controls at each time-point (P < 0.01). The serum level of cTnI and CK-MB in ENA group were (1.32 +/- 0.12 microg/L to 2.47 +/- 0.22 microg/L) and (438 +/- 68 U/L to 5569 +/- 322 U/L), respectively, which were obviously lower than those in B group (6.42 +/- 0.96 microg/L to 15.10 +/- 3.69 microg/L) and (2556 +/- 74 U/L to 8047 +/- 574 U/L, P < 0.05 or P < 0.01) at different time-points. (2) Compared with normal controls, cloudy swelling, stromal blood vessel dilatation and congestion inflammatory cell infiltration were observed in scald group, but these pathological changes were less marked in ENA group. CONCLUSION Severe myocardial damage in rat occurred early after burns. Enalaprilat injection can markedly alleviate myocardial damage.