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St Jude Defibrillator Lead Performed Worse Than Competitor Lead -Study

By Anjali Athavaley Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- St. Jude Medical Inc.'s (STJ) Riata defibrillator leads performed significantly worse than Medtronic Inc.'s (MDT) Quattro leads, according to results from a multicenter study presented at a medical meeting Thursday. St. Jude stopped selling the Riata leads in 2010, but about 79,000 are still implanted in patients in the U.S. St. Jude said last year it was recalling them due to a tendency for the metal wires to wear through their silicone covering. Data in the study, presented at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in Boston, was collected retrospectively from seven centers. Researchers evaluated the leads for all causes of failure, including cases where cables wore through their coating and electrical malfunctions. Riata, but not Riata ST, leads performed significantly worse than Quattro, according to the study. But follow-up for Riata ST was shorter than it was for Riata. The study also found that nearly a third of leads with exposed cables were malfunctioning. St. Jude said in a statement that the data is consistent with the company's findings that significant design changes implemented in the Riata ST leads resulted in improved performance compared to the Riata leads. In March, a study authored by Robert G. Hauser, a Minnesota cardiologist, tied a malfunction in Riata to at least 20 deaths. Dr. Hauser said the deaths alleged from Riata malfunctions were about nine times greater than Quattro. Last month, St. Jude said it was seeking a retraction of the study, published in the Heart Rhythm Journal. The company says Dr. Hauser undercounted deaths linked to Quattro. St. Jude shares were up 2.3% to $40.12 in recent trading. The stock is down 24% in the last year. -By Anjali Athavaley, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-4912; anjali.athavaley@dowjones.com

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