Italian former PM Berlusconi's heart surgery went well: source

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2016 3:01 AM

MILAN (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had heart surgery on Tuesday and a source from his party said the operation went well.

The 79-year-old center-right leader and media mogul was admitted to hospital last week suffering from what his doctors called a cardiac deficiency. The hospital said he underwent a four-hour operation to replace a defective aortic valve.

"The operation is over. It went well," said a party source, declining to be named.

A hospital statement said Berlusconi had been placed in intensive care, as planned, but gave no more details.

An official at Milan's San Raffaele hospital said the four-time premier would remain in intensive care for 48 hours and that he would be sedated at least until Wednesday.

In a post on Facebook, Berlusconi wrote on Monday: "Naturally I am worried, but I have been very much consoled by the outpouring of affection and support that have come from many sides, including from so-called political enemies."

His personal doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, said last week that Berlusconi, who has worn a pacemaker since he was 70, was in a very serious condition when he was taken to the hospital but was expected to recover fully from the surgery within a month.

Berlusconi's once-powerful center-right group of parties has become increasingly fragmented in recent years, mostly since he lost his grip on power in 2011 at the height of the euro zone debt crisis.

His party suffered mixed fortunes in local elections this month, with his candidate to become mayor in Rome coming fourth. The campaign took its toll on Berlusconi and his doctor said he would benefit from quitting politics.

(Reporting by Valentina Consiglio and Ilaria Polleschi; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Louise Ireland)