The next time you think about eating a ghost pepper, stop and consider this.
A case report in The Journal of Emergency Medicine describes a patient who spent 23 days in the hospital with tears in his esophagus after he consumed a hamburger topped with ghost pepper puree as part of a contest.
The 47-year-old man began "violently retching and vomiting" after eating the burger, despite washing it down with six large glasses of water, according to the September report.
The man was rushed to hospital where medical personnel determined that he was suffering from Boerhaave syndrome, or spontaneous esophageal rupture.
The patient was taken to the operating room "where he was noted to have a 2.5-cm tear in the distal esophagus," which had food debris in it, according to the journal.
The bhut jolokia, better known as ghost pepper, is one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. It rates at about 1,000,000 units on the Scoville heat scale. A jalepeno is about 3,500 Scoville units.
Many people have ignored the obvious agony of eating the fiery food to capture their own experiences ingesting it on camera, in what has become known as the "ghost pepper challenge."
Doctors discharged the patient after he underwent emergency surgery and remained in hospital for 23 days.
Nevertheless, the case study authors note in the background that, "To our knowledge, no significant adverse effects of ghost pepper ingestion have been reported."