Tissue transmission optical absorption spectroscopy provides dynamic information on metabolism and function. Murine genetic malleability makes it a major model for heart research. The diminutive size of the mouse heart makes optical transmission studies challenging. Using a perfused murine heart center mounted in an integrating sphere for light collection with a ventricular cavity optical catheter as an internal light source provided an effective method of optical data collection in this model. This approach provided high signal to noise optical spectra which when fit with model spectra provided information on tissue oxygenation and redox state. This technique was applied to the study of cardiac ischemia and ischemia reperfusion which generates extreme heart motion, especially during the ischemic contracture. The integrating sphere reduced motion artifacts associated with a fixed optical pickup and methods were developed to compensate for changes in tissue thickness. During ischemia, rapid decreases in myoglobin oxygenation occurred along with increases in cytochrome reduction levels. Surprisingly, when ischemic contracture occurred, myoglobin remained fully deoxygenated, while the cytochromes became more reduced consistent with a further, and critical, reduction of mitochondrial oxygen tension during ischemic contraction. This optical arrangement is an effective method of monitoring murine heart metabolism.