The increasingly severe shortage of donor hearts has prompted a liberalization of what is considered an acceptable donor heart. The use of marginally acceptable organs has increased in recent years. Although these marginal donors have proved effective, there still remains a tremendous shortage of donors to treat the large number of patients who are candidates for cardiac transplantation. Further use of marginal donors is limited by the requirement to assume immediate and full support of the circulation. New strategies are required to increase donor organ use even further. The authors developed a model of heterotopic abdominal heart transplant (HAHT) to investigate the possibility of using marginal donor hearts to expand the donor pool for cardiac transplantation. The authors' goal was to show that HAHT was technically feasible and could potentially function as auxiliary circulatory support in the setting of low cardiac output. The hemodynamic and metabolic consequences of a HAHT were investigated in a pilot study that provides proof of concept and lays the groundwork for future investigations.