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Study: 2 stents have equal risk

WASHINGTON -- Boston Scientific Corp. said its Taxus drug-coated heart stents were no more likely than Johnson & Johnson's similar devices to cause blood clots after a year of use.

The Boston Scientific-funded study, released at a medical meeting yesterday, reinforced the Natick company's assertion that Taxus and J&J's top-selling Cypher device carry equal risk of causing blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. J&J has said its product is less likely after a year to cause clotting.

Concerns about blood clots have risen because of recent studies showing 2.9 percent of drug-coated stents could develop clots within three years. More than 4 million people have received such stents since 2001, which means clotting related to drug-coated devices may have caused as many as 20,000 heart attacks and 10,000 deaths worldwide.

The findings are "are particularly compelling because they represent the patients physicians treat every day in a real-world setting," said lead researcher William O'Neill of the University of Miami.

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