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Ghost pepper burns 1-inch hole in man’s esophagus

Spicy chili in the world.

Spicy chili in the world.

SAN FRANCISCO — Consuming a ghost pepper sounds daunting enough, but one California man found out the hard way that it can also be incredibly dangerous.

The 47-year-old man was hospitalized after he participated in a ghost pepper-eating contest, according to The Journal of Emergency Medicine. He came to the hospital, complaining of abdominal and chest pain.

After chest X-rays showed air around part of his esophagus, he was immediately taken to the operating room, where doctors discovered the tear.

He remained on tubes for another 13 days after his procedure and left the hospital after 23 days.

The ghost pepper, also known as “bhut jolokia,” is one of the hottest peppers and is “more than twice the strength of a habanero pepper.”

“This case serves as an important reminder of a potentially life-threatening surgical emergency that was initially interpreted as discomfort after a large spicy meal,” the researchers said.