Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Ed Yeates ReportingA study released today by the American Heart Association warns people with heart conditions not to ride high-speed roller coasters. That study coincides with autopsy reports that show two children who died in separate incidents this summer at Walt Disney World both had irregular heartbeats.
While monitoring volunteers riding the Expedition GeForce coaster in Germany, forty-four percent had marked arrhythmias that lasted up to five minutes after the ride. One had an episode of atrial fibrillation, which corrected itself.
For young healthy people, coasters pose no threats to their hearts. But for those with heart conditions, the study recommends people with high blood pressure, a previous heart attack, an implanted defib or pacemaker, or other diagnosed heart disease should not ride a roller coaster.
The research team also recommends parks have portable defibrillator machines at or near high speed thrill rides. At our own Lagoon, that's already a done deal. A medical base camp, centrally located within a stone's throw of Collosus, is more like a full medical clinic. It has everything needed for an emergency, including both an adult and child portable defibrillator, just in case.
240 cameras monitor all the rides. Outside, a run-a-bout ambulance is specifically designed to get into tight corners, maneuvering almost anywhere in the park.
Lagoon is closed for the season, but when open, seasoned EMT's are on duty with one roaming the grounds at all times.
Dick Andrew, Lagoon: "They would be on scene within a minute, with backup staff arriving a minute or two after that."
Warnings have always been posted on park rides. This latest study just re-emphasizes the importance of taking heed, if it applies to you. The German study says the heart rate appeared to rise more, not from the "G" forces of the ride, but the psychological fear and stress as riders began climbing or reaching the top of the first drop.