In November 2016, a new record of 120 grammes (just over four ounces) of Carolina Reaper were eaten in one minute at a competition in Arizona.
Eating the world's hottest chilli left a 34-year-old man in hospital with excruciating headaches and neck pain. These are headaches that come on suddenly and severely like a thunderclap, and can mean something is seriously wrong. "He denied any focal tingling sensation or weakness, slurred speech, or transient loss of vision".
But when the medical team tried another type of CT scan created to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise. A computed tomography (CT) scan, however, revealed that several of the arteries leading to his brain were constricted.
Severe neck pain developed over the next few days along with debilitating severe headaches, lasting just a few seconds at a time. Certain drugs such as triptans or ergotamine as well as drugs of abuse including amphetamines and cocaine can lead to RCVS.
But the underlying cause isn't always life-threatening.
"A proportion of patients will have a severe form with strokes, and they can get either an intracranial hemorrhage of an ischemic stroke", Ducros said. She noted that most of her RCVS patients are males who use these supplements.
The result of a sudden constriction of the coronary artery is a heart attack, the doctors said.
While it's the first case of thunderclap headaches triggered by the fiery fruit, other peppers have caused similar reactions elsewhere in the body.
Three competitors, who are not involved in this story or case report, are seen participating in a chili pepper eating competition in Ningxiang, China. Individual samples have been rated at up to 2.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU), and tests in 2017 rated it at...
The Carolina Reaper contains 1,569,300.
For the average person interested in spice, not suffering, he advised using small amounts of any really hot pepper in food preparation, as they were intended.
According to Ducros, RCVS can also be triggered by extreme emotions or pain, which may have played a role in the case of the hot pepper contestant.
This rare condition is caused by the sudden narrowing of the major blood vessels in the brain. This pain on eating the peppers could have been a reason for the RCVS in this patient. The only "treatment is observation and removal of the offending agent".
The man's symptoms cleared up by themselves.
CT and MRI scans of the man's brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. The condition resolves on its own within a few days or a few weeks.
The authors report that this is the first case associated with eating a chilli pepper.
"It's important to think about RCVS if you get a very severe and instantaneous headache". "But, unfortunately, this condition is still not widely known".