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A few days earlier, he had eaten a Carolina Reaper chilli during a hot pepper eating contest.

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 USA state of NY, with excruciating pain.

Instead, the man was diagnosed with the thunderclap headaches linked to a temporary brain condition known as Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome (RCVS).

The man, who has not been identified, immediately began dry heaving after sampling the chilli, the USA authors said. He developed a crushing neck pain and an intense headache.

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.

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

Greg Foster of Irvine, California, holds the Guiness World Record for Carolina Reaper eating. After that he experienced multiple thunderclap headaches: brief bouts of excruciating pain that sent him scurrying to the hospital.


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".

Some extremely hot chili peppers can cause a lot of discomfort.

Often accompanied by "thunderclap" headaches, the condition usually occurs as a reaction to certain prescription medications, or after taking illegal drugs.

Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran, at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who wrote the report, said people need to be aware of these risks, if eating the chilli.

Past year it named the Carolina Reaper - a cross between Sweet Habanero and Naga Viper chillies - as the hottest pepper on Earth.

The Scoville scale is a measure of spiciness, which is based on the concentration of capsaicin in a substance - the compound that makes peppers hot.

Although a situation like this is rare and possibly the first to be documented, it is important to note that it is possible, said Gunasekaran, who co-authored a description of the man's symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and followup that was published Monday in BMJ Case Reports. It was, indeed, probably the reason he chose to tackle the fruit at a chilli-eating contest in the first place. He had no further thunderclap headaches.


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