The ryanodine receptor antagonist dantrolene inhibits calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum and reduces cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in global warm ischaemia models however the cardioprotective potential of dantrolene under hypothermic conditions is unknown. This study addresses whether the addition of dantrolene during cardioplegia and hypothermic storage of the donor heart can improve functional recovery and reduce IRI. Using an ex vivo isolated working heart model, Wistar rat (3 month and 12 month) hearts were perfused to acquire baseline haemodynamic measurements of aortic flow, coronary flow, cardiac output, pulse pressure and heart rate. Hearts were arrested and stored in Celsior preservation solution supplemented with 0.2–40 μM dantrolene for 6 hours at 4°C, then reperfused (15 min Langendorff, 30 min working mode). In 3-month hearts, supplementation with 1 μM dantrolene significantly improved aortic flow and cardiac output compared to unsupplemented controls however lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and contraction bands were comparable. In contrast, 40 μM dantrolene-supplementation yielded poor cardiac recovery, increased post-reperfusion LDH but reduced contraction bands. All 3-month hearts stored in dantrolene displayed significantly reduced cleaved-caspase 3 intensities compared to controls. Analysis of cardioprotective signalling pathways showed no changes in AMPKα however dantrolene increased STAT3 and ERK1/2 signaling in a manner unrelated to functional recovery and AKT activity was reduced in 1 μM dantrolene-stored hearts. In contrast to 3-month hearts, no significant improvements were observed in the functional recovery of 12-month hearts following prolonged storage in 1 μM dantrolene. Conclusions: Dantrolene supplementation at 1 μM during hypothermic heart preservation improved functional recovery of young, but not older (12 month) hearts. Although the molecular mechanisms responsible for dantrolene-mediated cardioprotection are unclear, our studies show no correlation between improved functional recovery and SAFE and RISK pathway activation.