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Heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit grew 36 percent as sales improved.

Edwards said its profit rose to $64.8 million, or 54 cents per share, from $47.6 million, or 40 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Excluding one-time charges the company said its profit totaled 55 cents per share. Revenue rose 13 percent, to $392.4 million from $346.7 million.

Analysts had expected a profit of 53 cents per share and revenue of $384.3 million, according to a FactSet survey.

The company said its heart valve therapy revenue grew 20 percent to $226.2 million in the fourth quarter after it launched its Sapien XT valve. Sales of transcatheter heart valves like Sapien grew 87 percent to $65.3 million.

Edwards said its critical care revenue rose 6 percent to $127.5 million, while cardiac surgery system revenue grew 1 percent to $25.2 million. Vascular sales slipped to $13.5 million from $13.7 million.

Sapien is designed to replace diseased heart valves. It is designed to be guided to the heart through an artery in the leg. Typically, the diseased valves are removed through open heart surgery, which is a more complicated procedure.

Edwards said its profit fell 5 percent in 2010, declining to $218 million, or $1.83 per share, from $229.1 million, or $1.95 per share. Revenue rose 10 percent, to $1.45 billion from $1.32 billion.

The company backed its forecast of $1.59 billion to $1.67 billion in sales in 2011. It expects $20 million to $25 million in U.S. Sapien sales for the year.

In the first quarter, it expects an adjusted profit of 40 cents to 42 cents per share. Analysts expect Edwards to report $1.63 billion in annual revenue, and in the first quarter, they are forecasting a profit of 44 cents per share.

Edwards shares picked up 38 cents Wednesday and closed at $86.32. In aftermarket trading, the stock fell $1.32 to $85.

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