A San Francisco man who joined an eating contest involving super-hot “ghost peppers” ended up with a hole in his esophagus, doctors report.

The 47-year-old showed up at a hospital emergency room after eating ghost peppers, or “bhut jolokia” — one of the hottest peppers known and “more than twice the strength of a habanero pepper,” according to a team led by Dr. Ann Arens.

She’s with the department of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

The man came into the ER “with severe abdominal and chest pain subsequent to violent retching and vomiting after eating ghost peppers,” the doctors said in the report published recently in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.


  1. Sure sounds like something called Boerhaave syndrome, or a Mallory-Wiess tear, caused by the vomiting from err, over”indulgence” in the peppers. It’s caused by the vomiting, not the peppers “burning a hole”. It’s not uncommon amoungst alcoholics and binge drinkers, due to the vomiting that leads to pressure and acid on the esophagus, causing the tear.