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A farmer stands in his field of "Bhut jolokia," or "ghost chili" peppers at Changpool in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Wednesday, July 4, 2007. Bhut jolokia, a thumb-sized chili pepper with frightening potency, was recently rated the spiciest chili in the world by Guinness World Records. It is widely eaten as a spice, a cure for stomach troubles and, seemingly paradoxically, a way to fight the crippling summer heat too. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

A ghost pepper burned a 1-inch hole in a California man's esophagus


A California man who ate a burger topped with a "ghost pepper puree" as part of an eating contest ended up with a hole in his esophagus, according to UPI.com.

When the 47-year-old showed up at a hospital emergency room he had severe abdominal and chest pain and was vomiting, according to the Journal of Emergency Medicine

The man said after six large glasses of water didn't help, he decided to seek medical help. 

CT scans and chest x-rays revealed air around the esophagus, "suggestive of a spontaneous esophageal perforation," according to Dr. Ann Arens, who is with the department of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. 

"The patient was intubated and taken immediately to the operating room, where he was noted to have a 2.5-centimeter (1-inch) tear" in his esophagus. 

Doctors noted that fluid and food debris was found around the tear. 

The man spent 213 days on a feeding tube and stayed in the hospital for 23 days, doctors said. 

Arens' team said this is believed to be the first case of its kind.  Arens added that while a spontaneous rupture of the esophagus is rare, it can be very dangerous. 

"The case serves as an important reminder of a potentially life-threatening surgical emergency initially interpreted as discomfort after a large spicy meal," Arens said. 

Ghost peppers, also known as "bhut jolokia," are the world's hottest peppers and have a Scoville rating of more than a million. 

Ghost peppers are twice as strong as habanero peppers. 


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