Medical device maker Guidant, which is in the process of being acquired by Boston Scientific, reported a 6% decline in first-quarter sales as it continues to feel the effects of a major recall of implantable defibrillators last summer.

Revenues came in at $894 million, with global sales of implantable defibrillators down 12% to $419 million. But there are encouraging signs of a recovery in the business, with overall revenues and defibrillator sales up 8% and 13%, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2005.

Meanwhile, an antitrust committee advising the US Federal Trade Commission has given a green light to the $27.5 billion acquisition of Guidant, although as a condition of approval Boston Scientific has had to commit to certain unspecified conditions.

Boston Scientific would not divulge the conditions, but said they would not have any material effect on the transaction, or the already-agreed $4.1 billion disposal of Guidant's stent business to Abbott Laboratories.

The FTC is due to rule on the takeover before early May, while the European Commission has set itself a deadline of April 18 to deliver a verdict. Boston Scientific has said it hopes to complete the transaction in the middle of April.