Berlusconi’s heart surgery ‘went well’: Aide

Milan (Italy), June 14 (IANS/AKI) Surgeons here on Tuesday successfully performed an operation to replace former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s aortic valve, said one of his top aides.

“I was worried, but everything is fine,” Gianni Letta, 81, who served as cabinet under-secretary to three of Berlusconi’s governments, told reporters.

Several members of 79-year-old Berlusconi’s family stayed with him in the San Raffaele hospital for the four-hour operation and his younger brother, Paolo Berlusconi, 66, arrived at the hospital afterwards.

The four-hour operation began at 8 a.m., with 69-year-old Ottavio Alfieri, the San Raffaele’s chief heart surgeon, leading the medical team.

Berlusconi’s personal physician, Alberto Zangrillo, 58, San Raffaele’s top anaesthetist, was also part of the team.

Berlusconi will spend some time in an intensive care unit following surgery and will then undergo a month of rehabilitation at the hospital.

His girlfriend Francesca Pascale was said to be with him in intensive care. Berlusconi and 30-year-old Pascale have been in a relationship since 2012.

Berlusconi will remain under sedation for around 24 hours and will remain in intensive care until Wednesday, the hospital said.

The billionaire media tycoon, founder and leader of the centre-right Forza Italia party, was admitted to the San Raffaele on 6 June with a life-threatening condition caused by the faulty aortic valve.

Berlusconi had a pacemaker fitted in a hospital in the US when he was 70 but has remained at the helm of Forza Italia.

–IANS/AKI

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