Absorbance spectroscopy of cardiac muscle provides non-destructive assessment of cytosolic and mitochondrial oxygenation via myoglobin and cytochrome absorbance respectively. In addition, numerous aspects of the mitochondrial metabolic status such as membrane potential and substrate entry can also be estimated. To perform cardiac wall transmission optical spectroscopy, a commercially available side-firing optical fiber catheter is placed in the left ventricle of the isolated perfused heart as a light source. Light passing through the heart wall is collected with an external optical fiber to perform optical spectroscopy of the heart in near real- time. The transmission approach avoids numerous surface scattering interference occurring in widely used reflection approaches. Changes in transmural absorbance spectra were deconvolved using a library of chromophore reference spectra, providing quantitative measures of all the known cardiac chromophores simultaneously. This spectral deconvolution approach eliminated intrinsic errors that may result from using common dual wavelength methods applied to overlapping absorbance spectra, as well as provided a quantitative evaluation of the goodness of fit. A custom program was designed for data acquisition and analysis, which permitted the investigator to monitor the metabolic state of the preparation during the experiment. These relatively simple additions to the standard heart perfusion system provide a unique insight into the metabolic state of the heart wall in addition to conventional measures of contraction, perfusion, and substrate/oxygen extraction.