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article imageStudent suffers heart attack in exam, still earns university spot

By Christopher Bates     Aug 20, 2011 in World
Cambridge - An 18-year-old Malaysian student recently received a place at Sydney University in Australia, despite suffering a heart attack during one of his A-level exams.
Jairaj Chandran was taking his theology exam at The Leys School in Cambridge, England, although stress triggered a coronary just ten minutes in.
Jairaj - who was born with asymptomatic aortic valve incompetence - a condition which causes blood to flow back into the heart - was quickly rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for emergency surgery.
After he spent a week at Addenbrooke’s, Jairaj received replacement valve surgery at Papworth Hospital which left an 8-inch scar on his chest.
He said: "I'd only written four lines when my chest got really tight and I had trouble breathing. I asked to go outside, but didn't make it. My legs and fingers were numb. It was terrifying."
While the second portion of Jairaj's theology exam was incomplete, an A grade at AS-level (including high grades in his other subjects) was enough to land him a place at Sydney University, where he will study Politics.
Jairaj also achieved an A in Classical Civilisation and a B in Maths, adding: ''I worked really hard for the exams - I revised for 7 hours every day - as I knew I needed them for university. I got the marks I needed, so I'm really happy.
"The doctors said it was probably stress related and I was nervous because theology was one of my worst subjects.
“My dad flew over from Malaysia while I was in surgery and when I woke up he was there. I was really worried if I was actually going to be fine or not. For the first four or five weeks I was sitting around and not able to do much.
“I still can’t lift anything heavy for the next 12 weeks because I have to wait for my sternum to heal.”
Jairaj will commence his university studies in February.
More about Heart attack, Exam, School, ALevel, ALevels
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