Italy''s former Prime Minister Berlusconi to have heart surgery

Italy`s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will undergo a four-hour operation on Tuesday.

Rome: Italy`s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will undergo a four-hour operation on Tuesday to replace a defective aortic valve, Milan`s San Raffaele Hospital announced on Monday.

The operation will begin at 8 a.m. local time and 69-year-old Ottavio Alfieri, the hospital`s chief heart surgeon, will lead the medical team, San Raffaele said.

Berlusconi`s personal physician, Alberto Zangrillo, San Raffaele`s top anaesthetist, will be part of the team.

"Naturally, I am anxious. But I have been greatly comforted by the very many declarations of esteem, support and affection that have reached me, even from my political adversaries," Berlusconi was quoted as saying.

"I thank everyone and send them a warm hug," the statement added.

After the operation, 79-year-old Berlusconi will spend several days in an intensive care unit and will then undergo rehabilitation at the hospital.

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

Berlusconi had a pacemaker fitted in a hospital in the United States when he was 70.

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