Berlusconi leaves hospital after heart surgery

Milan (Italy), July 5 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s former Premier Silvio Berlusconi was discharged from hospital in Milan on Tuesday, a month after he had open heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve.

“It was a very painful endurance test. I never thought I would have to deal with so much pain, but now I am a bit better,” a visibly thinner Berlusconi told reporters and well-wishers as he left the San Raffaele hospital.

“I have got to do two months of rehabilitation and after that I hope to still be useful to Italy and its people,” added the 79-year-old billionaire media mogul.

Visibly thinner, he was wearing a dark blue polo-shirt and trousers with a matching sweater draped around his shoulders.

Berlusconi took a swipe at “a very serious deficiency of leaders” in the country. He dominated Italian politics for two decades but his conservative Forza Italia party is in the doldrums and the grassroots Five Star movement has become the most popular group in opinion polls, triumphing in recent mayoral run-off elections.

The four-time prime minister will continue his recovery at his mansion in Arcore, near Milan, under the care of doctors from San Raffaele.

Berlusconi’s life had been “in danger and he knew it”, his doctor Alberto Zangrillo said ahead of his admission to hospital last month for a four-hour operation under anaesthetic.

During the operation, surgeons gave Berlusconi an artificial valve which is expected to last between 15 and 20 years.

–IANS/AKI

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