There is an increasing shortage of human donor hearts for transplantation. One potential solution is using hearts from a suitable animal source, such as the pig. A committee of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation has reviewed the current status of research into xenotransplantation. Furthermore, the committee considered what results in the pig-to-nonhuman primate experimental model would justify a clinical trial of xenotransplantation, and the criteria for selecting patients to be entered in the trial. This review emphasizes initial patient selection issues, although the committee's overall conclusions and recommendations are summarized. Although the current experimental results do not presently justify initiating a clinical trial, the committee concluded that xenotransplantation theoretically has immense potential, and that research in this field should be encouraged and supported. Human cadaveric organ donation will still be of the highest priority for the foreseeable future. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.