Man who ate the world's hottest chilli pepper lands in hospital

The 34-year-old man's symptoms began with dry heaves immediately after participation in a hot pepper contest where he ate one Carolina Reaper

A Competitive Eater Suffered a Rare 'Thunderclap' Headache Brought on by the World's Hottest Chili Pepper

A scan showed several arteries in his brain had temporarily narrowed, causing severe episodic "thunderclap" headaches. His symptoms began with dry heaves, followed by severe neck pain and whole-head headaches.

It turns out that he was having "thunderclap headaches", which, just like their name suggests, tend to strike fast and hard, with pain peaking within about 60 seconds. The patient underwent a CT angiogram, which revealed a significant constriction and narrowing of blood vessels in his brain.

With supportive care, the man had no other thunderclap headaches and a scan five weeks afterward found that artery tightening had resolved itself.

"We would not advise against eating Carolina Reaper at this time, but we would recommend the general public be cautious about these adverse effects and we advise that they should seek medical attention immediately if they develop sudden onset headache after eating hot peppers".

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In this man's case, the RCVS could have been due to eating the Carolina Reaper, the report said. But thats what happened to a 34-year-old man who turned up at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., with what clinicians call a thunderclap headache.

"I was discussing the case with a nurse who had eaten three Carolina Reapers", Gunasekaran said.

In the first ever recorded case of a chilli causing these types of headaches, the man over the next few days experienced short splitting pains lasting seconds at a time.

Eating extremely spicy food may cause much greater discomfort than a burning tongue or watery eyes. It can be a reaction to certain medications, such as anti-depressants, and illicit drugs like ecstasy.

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The amusingly named PuckerButt Pepper Company, creator of the Carolina Reaper, describes the experience of eating one: "A roasted sweetness delivering an instant level of heat never before achieved continuing with an increasing tidal wave of scorching fire that grips you from head to toe".

"It was a big surprise to everyone", said doctor Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, one of the authors of the article that warns of the dangers of playing with chilli fire.

"No cases of RCVS secondary to peppers or cayenne have been previously reported", he said, "but ingestion of cayenne pepper has been associated with coronary vasospasm and acute myocardial infarction", he added.

Biting into the "hottest pepper in the world" sounds painful enough.

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Speaking of symptoms, the man did not show any sign of stroke because he did not have any kind of neurological deficits such as slurred speech or muscle weakness.

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