In 2015, a 9-year-old boy's video went viral when he tried the pepper on YouTube, and in 2016 a man set another world record when he ate 22 Carolina Reapers in less than a minute. Based on this-and the lack of other problems-the doctors diagnosed him with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome(RCVS), a rare cerebrovascular condition caused by tightening of blood vessels in the brain and marked by a series of thunderclap headaches.
Extremely hot peppers don't just blister your mouth and bum-they can also spark fiery havoc in your brain, according to a report published Monday inBMJ Case Reports.
The pepper-eating patient experienced dry heaves immediately after consuming the beast and then developed an intense headache and neck pain.
The pain, medically described as "thunderclap headaches", came on in intense bouts each lasting for a few seconds.
A brain scan five weeks later showed his arteries had returned to normal.
The Reaper has been measured at more than 2 million Scoville heat units, the accepted scale for how hot peppers are.
Medical doctors believe the condition, known as RCVS, has never before been linked to the consumption of chilli peppers such as the Carolina Reaper. The thunderclap headaches reoccurred over the next few days.
The Carolina Reaper was reconfirmed by Guinness following a stringent round of lab tests, as well as stiff competition from other competitors.
RCVS does not always have an obvious cause, but can occur as a reaction to some prescription medication, 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.
The result of a sudden constriction of the coronary artery is a heart attack, the doctors said.
It happens instantaneously. If that kind of headache hits you, it makes sense to seek medical attention "whether youve bitten into a pepper or not", Newman said.
Speaking of symptoms, the man did not show any sign of stroke because he did not have any kind of neurological deficits such as slurred speech or muscle weakness.
"Our patient's symptoms improved with supportive care, he had no further thunderclap headaches", the report said. It was, indeed, probably the reason he chose to tackle the fruit at a chilli-eating contest in the first place.