Competitive eater taken to hospital after eating world's hottest chilli pepper

Competitive eater taken to hospital after eating world's hottest chilli pepper

In the latest edition of the journal's Case Reports, four New York-based emergency doctors, led by Satish Kumar Boddhula, report on a man who experienced crippling "thunderclap headaches" after attempting to eat a "Carolina Reaper", billed as the hottest chilli in the world.

The 34-year-old man told doctors he'd eaten a Carolina Reaper chilli after he presented to the Bassett Medical Center's emergency room, in the U.S. state of NY, with excruciating pain.

The doctor who reviewed his case has warned anyone eating hot chilli peppers to seek medical attention immediately if they experience sudden onset headaches.

Shortly after eating the pepper, he began dry heaving and developed severe neck and head pain.

The man's condition after eating the chilli pepper was so bad that he was tested for various neurological conditions through the results came out to be negative.

The man's RCVS symptoms reportedly disappeared on their own, and a CT scan performed five weeks after the incident showed that his arteries had returned to normal.

Doctors diagnosed him with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome - RCVS for short.

But then, a CT scan revealed that several arteries in the man's brain had narrowed.

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He ate the Carolina Reaper chilli, called the world's hottest by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013.

"Given the development of symptoms immediately after exposure to a known vasoactive substance, it is plausible that our patient had RCVS secondary to the Carolina Reaper", write the authors. This started out with a hot chili pepper eating contest. But the main takeaway remains - don't mess with extremely hot chili peppers, contest or no contest. It's not always clear what causes RCVS, but it can sometimes be due to unusual reactions to medications like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (which are antidepressants like Prozac or Zoloft) or illicit drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines.

"He thought it would go away, but it did not", said Dr. Kulothungan Gunasekaran, one of report's authors.

A 2012 study documented a 25-year-old man who had a heart attack and coronary vasospasms after taking cayenne pepper pills - which also contain large amounts of capsaicin - for weight loss.

Hot peppers have a high concentration of capsaicin, a chemical responsible for the spiciness of certain foods.

"Our patient's symptoms improved with supportive care, he had no further thunderclap headaches", the report said.

This is the first case to be associated with eating chili peppers.

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