Pacemakers use electrical impulses to keep hearts beating regularly.

In 1926 Australian anesthesiologist Dr. Mark Lidwill inserted a needle into the heart of a newborn and used an electric pulse to control the baby’s heart, saving its life.

Lidwill’s cardiac pacemaker has saved countless lives since. Like Banting and Best, the inventors of insulin, Lidwill refused to patent his invention. However, Lidwill remains most famous in his native Australia for being the first person to catch a rare Black Marlin fish. Articles about the innovator of the pacemaker often write as much about the fish as the pacemaker.

Eventually, the first real pacemaker was implanted by Swedish Dr. Ake Senning, a heart surgeon, into Arne Larsson, a Swedish engineer. It failed after eight hours. Subsequently, Larsson underwent more than two dozen surgeries, going through countless pacemakers. He lived until 2002, eventually dying of cancer entirely unrelated to his heart problems.

There were countless incremental external pacemakers. Eventually, Wilson Greatbatch invented the implantable pacemaker and miniaturized pacemaker batteries, a vital part of the invention.

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