Thanks to medicine, the expression ‘heart of gold’ is a literal reality.

golden_pacemaker

Before you go running off to your GP demanding a golden heart, understand that it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

First of all, if you have a healthy heart you’re off the list. However, if you have a heart condition it could be a different story. People who have heart conditions can have a Pacemaker implanted into the chest to help to monitor and control the heartbeat.

Medicare statistics indicated there were about 11,375 pacemakers and 3,500 implantable cardioverter defibrillators implanted in Australia in 2016. All of these would have been made with titanium for its strength and durability. However, what happens if you have an allergy to titanium?

Approximately 4% of people will show a sensitivity to titanium, which can be extremely dangerous if the material in question is embedded in your chest. To solve the problem, doctors and manufacturers of Pacemakers, Medtronic developed a gold coated pacemaker.

Why gold? Well, gold is non-reactive and highly reliable in electronic equipment and life-support devices. As such, many surgical instruments, equipment, and life-support devices are made using small amounts of gold.

And while the procedure has been used in other countries, in 2005, a woman from Canberra was the first Australian to receive a heart of gold.

For the rest of us, we’ll just have to stick to the old-fashioned method.