How a burger with ghost peppers could send you to the ER

How a burger with ghost peppers could send you to the ER

It’s an unlikely occurrence, to be sure, but this really did happen:

A man who ate a burger slathered in ghost pepper puree had such a violent reaction to its heat that he ended up with a life-threatening tear in his esophagus, according to a case study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

(Flickr/VasenkaPhotography) 

The 47-year-old man showed up in a hospital emergency room complaining of chest and abdominal pain after eating ghost peppers in a contest. Doctors there eventually discovered an inch-long tear in his esophagus, a result of the violent retching he experienced. 

The study did not reveal the state where the incident occurred.

Surgeons repaired the rupture, but the patient had a breathing tube for two weeks, and spent a total of 23 days in the hospital.

Ghost peppers were certified as the hottest Chili Pepper on the planet in 2007 by The Guinness Book of World Records.

Although the article noted the scarcity of any reports of medical problems from ingesting ghost peppers, the authors warned that the popularity of viral eating challenges means people need to be aware of the risk, no matter how remote.

“Spontaneous esophageal rupture, Boerhaave syndrome, is a rare condition encountered by emergency physicians, with a high mortality rate,” they wrote. “This case serves as an important reminder of a potentially life- threatening surgical emergency initially interpreted as discomfort after a large spicy meal.”

Kathleen O’Brien may be reached at kobrien@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBrienLedger. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 

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Published at Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:42:53 +0000