Wasabi can be pretty shocking to the senses even if someone knows they're eating it.
It is no surprise that eating it accidentally led to some pretty significant consequences for the 60-year-old subject of a British Medical Journal report.
The shock of the spicy condiment's powerful burning sensation caused the woman to suffer Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, also known as stress cardiomyopathy.
The condition is characterized by a sudden weakening of the left ventricle—a part of the heart that is responsible for pushing blood through the body. It is often triggered by sudden strong emotions or extreme stress, such as grief after the a breakup or death of a partner.
Hence, the common name "Broken Heart Syndrome".
The subject of the British Medical Journal report was at a wedding in Israel when she ate a mouthful of what she thought was avocado. It wasn't.
She soon went to the emergency room with heart attack-like symptoms. They soon discovered the cause, and began treatment.
The paper's authors describe the woman's experiences, and point out that they believe this is the first case of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy caused by wasabi consumption.
"A few minutes after she ate the wasabi, she felt a sudden pressure in her chest radiating to her arms, which lasted [a] few hours. She decided not to leave the wedding and the pain started to subside."
It wasn't over after those few hours, unfortunately.
"On the following day, she felt weakness and general discomfort, prompting her to seek medical evaluation."
The patient is now in recovery from the condition after about a month of rehabilitation.
Some folks on social media sympathized with the woman, with some sharing their unpleasant first wasabi experiences.
@ianvisits The first time I ever had sushi I had no idea what wasabi was. It looked like a condiment. I shovelled a… https://t.co/xFprzgwFgt— Damian Cannon (@Damian Cannon)1570007937.0
@pnatarajanmd @RaviShah_MD @BMJCaseReports Not a rare mistake. Upon opening of the 1st japanese restaurant in Rio (… https://t.co/B48HiQlcx2— Sergio Kaiser, M.D., PhD, FACC, FESC (@Sergio Kaiser, M.D., PhD, FACC, FESC)1569376911.0
@ariarmstrong @PaulHsieh Yikes! That's a hellofa mistake!— Bee (@Bee)1569434967.0
@ugurkucuk Not surprised.. The first time, I thought it was an interesting sauce and took a nice portion (like an a… https://t.co/WciHdrO5Ar— Paul Chacko (@Paul Chacko)1569554797.0
Others marveled at the things that can happen to our hearts.
@bryanboling This is why I’m amazed by the heart.— LJ (@LJ)1569880981.0
@Plan9fromMan Broken heart syndrome is the weirdest thing.— Nycteris (@Nycteris)1569521943.0
Some were shocked that someone could manage to eat a whole teaspoon of wasabi at all.
Woman ate a large amount of wasabi thinking it was avocado --> presented to ED shortly thereafter with Takotsubo ca… https://t.co/O0atxdzyRg— Lance Shaver (@Lance Shaver)1569531442.0
The paper's authors believe that the sheer amount of wasabi she consumed is what led to her body's reaction.
"In our case report, the amount of wasabi our patient consumed was unusually large, about a size of a teaspoon."
Consumption of wasabi in normal amounts is not likely to cause any reactions, other than a particularly strong burning sensation if you accidentally breathe out of your nose while eating it. Probably best to avoid eating an entire teaspoonful, though.
Real wasabi is rare. Most wasabi that people eat is made from horseradish and dyed green. However real Japanese Shizuoka Wasabi paste is available here. Authentic wasabi can also be purchased as a dipping sauce or a powder.
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