Man who ate 'Carolina Reaper' chilli rushed to hospital with 'thunderclap headaches'

Man who ate 'Carolina Reaper' chilli rushed to hospital with 'thunderclap headaches'

Man who ate 'Carolina Reaper' chilli rushed to hospital with 'thunderclap headaches'

A man who chose to eat what's known as the world's hottest chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, went to the emergency room after experiencing striking, severe head pain for days.

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.

This condition is known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), and was most likely causing the thunderclap headaches. His symptoms began with dry heaves, followed by severe neck pain and whole-head headaches.

RCVS is typically characterized by an intense "thunderclap" headache due to constriction of blood vessels in the brain and usually resolves within a few days or weeks, according to Dr. Anne Ducros, professor of neurology and head of the migraine and headache unit at the University of Montpellier, who was not involved in the report. A CT scan showed that numerous arteries in his brain had constricted and he was diagnosed with RCVS.

RCVS is characterised by temporary artery narrowing often accompanied by a thunderclap headache.

Brain scans showed the pepper-eater wasn't suffering from a stroke, but a major artery in his brain had narrowed.

The Carolina Reaper, a hybrid of the ghost pepper and the red habanero, is estimated to be about 300 times as hot as the spiciest jalapeno and holds the record as the hottest pepper in the world.

Medical doctors believe the condition, known as RCVS, has never before been linked to the consumption of chilli peppers such as the Carolina Reaper.


About 80 per cent of the time, people have more than one episode of a thunderclap headache, he said.

Chilli eating competition contestants know to expect ill-effects from their pastime: a burning mouth, sweat streaming from every pore and some uncomfortable bathroom visits.

They noted the condition can be caused by a reaction to certain prescription drugs, or after taking illegal drugs.

"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.

So what exactly happened to the man who ate the hot pepper?

The man's symptoms improved within days.

The patient was fine, with no lingering damage, but thunderclap headaches are not to be dismissed. In 2013, it snatched the title of world's hottest pepper from Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T" by Guinness World Records.

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