Man Hospitalised After Eating 'Carolina Reaper' World's Hottest Chilli Pepper

Carolina Reaper peppers on a table

The Carolina Reaper has received the Guinness World Record for the hottest chili pepper in the world

According to a new case study in The British Medical Journal, a 34-year-old man from NY did just that during a hot pepper eating contest - and ended up in hospital.

After downing a "Carolina Reaper", billed as the world's hottest chili pepper at the time, a 34-year-old man developed intense head and neck pain and had several brief but excruciating headaches over the next few days.

"Thunderclap" headaches happen by the abrupt tightening of the vessels that take blood to the brain, a condition called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS). This particular pepper is considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, according to the report, published today (April 9) in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

He began dry heaving immediately after eating the extremely hot pepper, with the onset of acute head and neck pain hitting him hard.

A brain scan five weeks later showed his arteries had returned to normal.

Greg Foster of Irvine, California, holds the Guiness World Record for Carolina Reaper eating.

They said it was plausible the Carolina Reaper was to blame for the headaches, pointing out that ingestion of cayenne pepper had been linked to the constriction of arteries in the heart, as well as heart attacks. Often, it is a symptom of vicious "thunderclap headaches", which can leave someone helpless in unbearable pain until it subsides.

Rob Radcliffe previously undertook a challenge to eat a Carolina Reaper. with no such consequences.

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While there is no single cause, RCVS occurs when arteries in the brain constrict or narrow restricting bloodflow and increasing pressure.

They noted the condition can be caused by a reaction to certain prescription drugs, or after taking illegal drugs. But "we would recommend the general public be cautious about these adverse effects" and seek medical attention immediately if they develop sudden headaches after eating hot peppers, Gunasekaran told Live Science.

Apparently, she didn't learn her lesson in 2014 when she tried Currie's first round of Carolina Reapers.

"When we were looking at the literature we found a couple of cases similar to our case", one of the researchers, Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, told The Guardian.

The new pepper, however, is even hotter.

The man's symptoms cleared up by themselves.

It's not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions.

"Our patient's symptoms improved with supportive care, he had no further thunderclap headaches", the report said. He achieved this accomplishment by consuming 120 grams of the pepper in 60 seconds at the Arizona Hot Sauce Expo in November 2016.

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