High g-Force Rollercoaster Rides Induce Sinus Tachycardia but No Cardiac Arrhythmias in Healthy Children

Guido Pieles, Victoria Husk, Teresa Blackwell, Deirdre Wilson, Simon Collin, Craig Williams, A Graham Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
319 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Theme park operators and medical professionals advise children with heart conditions against using rollercoaster rides, but these recommendations are not evidence-based. The underlying assumption is that the combination of adrenergic stimulation through stress and acceleration might trigger arrhythmias in susceptible individuals. We conducted a cross-sectional observational study to assess heart rate and rhythm in healthy children during commercial rollercoaster rides. 20 healthy children (9 male) aged 11–15 (mean 13.3±1.4) years underwent continuous heart rate and rhythm monitoring (2-lead ECG) from 5mins before until 10mins after each of 4 high speed (>50km∙h-1), high G force (Gz>4) commercial rollercoaster rides. Total recording time was 13 h 20 min. No arrhythmic events were detected. Resting heart rate was 81 ± 10 b·min-1 and increased to 158 ± 20 b·min-1 during rides. The highest mean HR (165 ±23 b·min-1) was observed on the ride with the lowest g-force (4.5 g), but one of the highest speeds (100 km∙h-1). Anticipatory tachycardia (126 ±15 b·min-1) within 5 min was frequently observed. A 10 min recovery HR (124 ±17 b·min-1) was 56 % greater than resting HR. The speed and G-force experienced on rollercoasters induce sinus tachycardia but do not elicit pathological arrhythmias in healthy children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15–19
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Volume38
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • cardiology
  • arrhythmia
  • rollercoaster
  • g-force

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