November 16, 2005

Roller coasters raise risk in heart patients-study

DALLAS (Reuters) - Keep your hands inside the cars may not
be enough warning for people with heart disease who want to
ride roller coasters, a new study presented on Wednesday found.

"The rising heart rate in riders with pre-existing heart
disease could result in heart attack, irregular heart rhythms
and possibly sudden cardiac death," said Dr Jurgen Kuschyk, who
presented the findings of his study at the American Heart
Association's annual scientific sessions.

The German study of 37 men and 18 women volunteers with no
heart disease and average age of 28 found heart rates increased
dramatically both during and after the ride to an extent that
could cause arrhythmias, or a dangerous irregular heart beat,
in some people.

Forty-four percent of the participants had marked heart
rhythm irregularities that lasted up to five minutes after
their ride on the Expedition GeForce roller coaster at Holiday
Park in Hassioch, Germany, researchers said.

People with high blood pressure, a previous heart attack,
an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator and those with heart
disease should not ride roller coasters, the researchers said.

Kuschyk, a cardiologist from University Hospital in
Mannheim, Germany, suggested that roller coaster operators keep
a defibrillator on hand.

"A lot of people don't know they have heart disease, yet
they are riding roller coasters," he said.