Background: The aerobic energy metabolism of cardiac muscle cells is of major importance for the contractile function of the heart. Because energy metabolism is very heterogeneously distributed in heart tissue, especially during coronary disease, a method to quantify metabolic fluxes in small tissue samples is desirable. Taking tissue biopsies after infusion of substrates labeled with stable carbon isotopes makes this possible in animal experiments. However, the appreciable noise level in NMR spectra of extracted tissue samples makes computational estimation of metabolic fluxes challenging and a good method to define confidence regions was not yet available. Results: Here we present a computational analysis method for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites. The method was validated using measurements on extracts of single tissue biopsies taken from porcine heart in vivo. Isotopic enrichment of glutamate was measured by NMR spectroscopy in tissue samples taken at a single time point after the timed infusion of C-13 labeled substrates for the TCA cycle. The NMR intensities for glutamate were analyze Conclusions: Despite the appreciable NMR noise level, the oxygen consumption in the tissue samples, estimated from the NMR spectra, correlates with blood-gas oxygen uptake measurements for the whole heart. The MCMC method provides confidence regions for the estimated metabolic fluxes in single cardiac biopsies, taking the quantified measurement noise level and the nonlinear dependencies between parameters fully into account.