Sun, May 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Roller-coasters might cause lung damage: doctors

By Fang Chih-hsien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Severe shaking while riding a roller-coaster might damage the alveolar wall in the lungs, causing pain in the throat, shoulder, neck and chest, physicians said.

Yuan’s General Hospital Department of Pediatrics doctor Yang Tai-jing (楊岱璟) cited the case of a 17-year-old student who in January came to the hospital complaining of pain in his throat, shoulders, neck and chest.

The patient said he thought it was a cold, Yang said, adding that an X-ray showed that the patient developed subcutaneous emphysema, or trapped air in tissue under the skin, in the shoulder and neck area, with parts of the chest affected and air building up in his chest cavity.

The patient had no external injuries, did not smoke and was not coughing.

The injuries sustained while riding a roller-coaster caused air to escape into the mediastinal cavity and into the tissue under the shoulder and neck, leading to subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum, Yang said.

Yang said the mediastinal cavity is between the lungs and contains organs such as the heart and the esophagus, adding that under normal conditions, organs should only receive oxygen breathed in through the esophagus and the trachea.

As the patient saw doctors on the third day after developing symptoms, his condition was mild enough to be treated with painkillers, Yang said.

If people feel unwell after strenuous exercise, strong bouts of coughing or after a holiday and have pain in the throat, chest, shoulder or neck, they should visit a doctor as soon as possible, Yang said.

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