Guidant ( GDT) Tuesday offered first-quarter revenue guidance topping analysts' expectations. The company said that based on preliminary figures revenue would reach $934 million. The consensus estimate by analysts polled by Thomson First Call is $924 million. The Indianapolis-based maker of medical equipment also said earnings for the first quarter would probably match the Wall Street consensus view of 55 cents a share. Guidant said EPS, excluding charges, would be 55 cents to 56 cents. EPS from continuing operations would be 47 cents to 48 cents, the company said. Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was led by various cardiac rhythm management devices -- implantable defibrillators were up 22% from the same period while pacemakers rose 13% from year-ago levels. Growth in those areas helped offset the 22% decline in revenue from stents, the wire mesh tubes inserted into arteries to improve blood flow. Guidant's bare metal stent business is losing market share to drug-coated stents made by Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and, more recently, Boston Scientific ( BSX). The drug-coated stents -- which release medication periodically -- do a better job than bare ones in reducing the reclogging rate of arteries that have been cleared via a procedure called angioplasty. Guidant's official first-quarter earnings and sales data will be released April 22. Shares gained $1.80, or 2.7%, to $67.65.