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Faecal incontinence - Many treatment options now exist
      12/16/03 12:17 PM
HeatherAdministrator

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BMJ 2003;327:1299-1300 (6 December), doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7427.1299


Faecal incontinence - Many treatment options now exist for this embarrassing condition

Faecal incontinence, not a glamorous area of medicine, has changed markedly in its recognition and management over the past 10 years. Patients and doctors can talk about it now as the taboo is disappearing. Pathophysiology is better understood, helped by advances in imaging. Treatments are improving as they move away from invasive sphincter surgery as an early step to the use of simple pharmacological treatments, behavioural techniques, injectable biomaterials, and, when necessary, minimally invasive surgery.

Faecal incontinence affects both sexes and all age groups. Approximately 2% of the adult population have it on a frequent basis.1 The commonest cause of faecal leakage is probably degeneration of the delicate smooth muscle of the internal anal sphincter—the muscle that maintains sphincter closure.2 The commonest cause in young women is obstetric anal sphincter damage. Most sphincter damage is occult; approximately a third of first vaginal deliveries result in endosonographically identifiable structural sphincter damage; about a third of these are associated with new bowel symptoms of faecal incontinence or urgency.3 Forceps delivery is the greatest risk factor; others are a large baby, occipito-posterior position, and a prolonged second stage of labour. The same risk factors apply to the 1% of vaginal deliveries complicated by a recognised third degree tear.4

Structural damage to the sphincter can also result from surgery. This may be an unavoidable consequence of necessary treatment such as in the care of an anal fistula. Or it may result from anal dilatation, an outmoded form of treatment for chronic fissure or constipation.

In elderly people, especially those in care, faecal impaction is a common cause of leakage. Many factors contribute to this process, including constipating medications and poor mobility.5 Children with faecal impaction leak stool. Others have impaired continence after correction of congenital anorectal abnormalities.

A complete history, examination for sphincter damage or faecal impaction, and correction of predisposing factors, can lead to successful treatment in many patients. If further investigation is required anal endosonography has become the standard means of imaging the anal sphincter, and is now available in most specialist centres.6 It enables identification of structural damage and degenerative disorders of the sphincter muscles. When sepsis involves the sphincter complex, such as in complex perianal fistulas or Crohn's disease, magnetic resonance imaging provides accurate information.

Factors contributing to continence include the integrity of the sphincter muscles, the force of bowel contraction, consistency of stools, and cognitive factors. Each of these can act as a suitable target for treatment. Most commonly a combination of treatments is useful. For example, for patients with urge faecal incontinence, learning to overcome a sense of panic, sustain contraction of the sphincter, and titrate loperamide can lead to marked improvement in the symptom sometimes even when there is structural damage to the sphincter.7

Drugs that diminish the force of bowel contractions and enhance absorption of luminal colonic water can transform bowel control and the ability to function socially. Loperamide is effective in patients with symptoms of either urgency or leakage. The wide therapeutic to toxic ratio makes this a very safe drug in adults and one that should be titrated to achieve control of symptoms. If one capsule is too constipating patients can use smaller doses of the syrup formulation.

Topical application to the perianal skin is an alternative pharmacological approach. Topical phenylephrine, which increases the tone of the sphincter smooth muscle, is under development.8

Behavioural techniques have transformed the management of this condition.9 Even in patients with structural damage it is often possible to improve continence substantially, which implies that there is often an element of reversibility and that a complex combination of factors contributes to continence.7 9

A recent randomised study examined which component of behavioural treatment was most important.7 Treatment with bowel focused counselling, including advice on resisting urgency and titrating loperamide, was as effective as providing the patient with real time feedback—biofeedback—about sphincter function. The pharmacological treatment, advice, and nature of the interaction between therapist and patient seemed to be more important than the technical aspects of treatment.

In institutionalised elderly patients a combination of treatments is most likely to be fruitful, including attention to medications, regular toileting, and sometimes use of gentle laxatives.5 When non-invasive treatments have failed minimally invasive treatments can be considered. Injection of silicone biomaterial can improve leakage caused by a weak internal anal sphincter.10 Surgery should be reserved for patients with major incontinence that has failed to respond to conservative treatment and is necessary in only very few patients. However, no operation is capable of restoring the sphincter to its original finely tuned state.

An overlap repair of the sphincter is still the first line surgical treatment for major disruption of the sphincter due to obstetric causes, especially if there is loss of the perineal body. However, although the short term results are good, the long term results are less satisfactory.11

More invasive procedures include the artificial bowel sphincter or repositioning the gracilis muscle as a neo-sphincter around the anal canal.12 Both operations have a substantial learning curve, a success rate of about 50% in good hands, and are associated with considerable morbidity. Another treatment undergoing evaluation is radiofrequency ablation at the anorectal junction, a process that may induce fibrosis and prevent neurally mediated sphincter relaxations.

An alternative to sphincter surgery entails modulating the neural control of the lower bowel and sphincter. Chronic low amplitude stimulation of sacral nerves, via percutaneously inserted fine wire electrodes, is substantially less invasive than sphincter surgery and has proved successful.13

The socially disabling symptom of faecal incontinence is usually amenable to simple and inexpensive treatments. General practitioners need to be familiar with the condition, initiate treatment, or obtain help from continence advisers. Surgeons need to exhaust conservative treatments before proceeding to surgery and be realistic about the outcome of surgery. Healthcare providers need to establish multiskilled regional centres offering a range of diagnostic and treatment expertise.

Michael A Kamm, professor of gastroenterology

St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow HA1 3UJ
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Competing interests: MK has acted as an adviser to Curon, Johnson and Johnson, Medtronic, and Uroplasty, and has received financial support from SLA Pharma.

References:

Perry S, Shaw C, McGrother C, Matthews RJ, Assassa RP, Dallosso H, et al. Prevalence of faecal incontinence in adults aged 40 years or more living in the community. Gut 2002;50: 480-4.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Vaizey CJ, Kamm MA, Bartram CI. Primary degeneration of the internal anal sphincter as a cause of passive faecal incontinence. Lancet 1997;349: 612-5.[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Sultan AH, Kamm MA, Hudson CN, Thomas JM, Bartram CI. Anal-sphincter disruption during vaginal delivery. N Engl J Med 1993;329: 1905-11.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Sultan AH, Kamm MA, Hudson CN, Bartram CI. Third degree obstetric anal sphincter tears: risk factors and outcome of primary repair. BMJ 1994;308: 887-91.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Potter J, Norton C, Cottenden A, eds. Bowel care in older people. Research and practice. London: Royal College of Physicians of London, 2002.
Law PJ, Kamm MA, Bartram CI. Anal endosonography in the investigation of faecal incontinence. Br J Surg 1991;78: 312-4.[ISI][Medline]
Norton C, Chelvanayagam S, Wilson-Barnett J, Redfern S, Kamm MA. Randomized controlled trial of biofeedback for fecal incontinence. Gastroenterology (in press).
Cheetham, Kamm MA, Phillips RKS. Topical phenylephrine increases anal canal resting pressure in patients with faecal incontinence. Gut 2001;48: 356-9.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Norton C, Kamm MA. Anal sphincter biofeedback and pelvic floor exercises for faecal incontinence in adults - a systematic review. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2001;15: 1147-54.[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Kenefick NJ, Vaizey CJ, Malouf AJ, Norton CS, Marshall M, Kamm MA. Injectable silicone biomaterial for faecal incontinence due to internal anal sphincter dysfunction. Gut 2002;51: 225-8.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Malouf AJ, Norton CS, Engel AF, Nicholls RJ, Kamm MA. Long term results of overlapping anterior anal sphincter repair for obstetric trauma. Lancet 2000;355: 260-5.[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Madoff RD, Rosen HR, Baeten CG, LaFontaine LJ, Cavina E, Devesa M, et al. Safety and efficacy of dynamic muscle plasty for anal incontinence: lessons from a prospective multicenter trial. Gastroenterology 1999;116: 549-56.[ISI][Medline]
Kenefick NJ, Vaizey CJ, Cohen RCG, Nicholls RJ, Kamm MA. Medium-term results of permanent sacral nerve stimulation for faecal incontinence. Br J Surg 2002;89: 896-901.[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]


Prevalence of faecal incontinence
Peter J Elton
bmj.com, 8 Dec 2003

http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/327/7427/1299

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HeatherAdministrator
10/28/05 11:42 AM
* Functional Constipation Linked to Obesity in Children
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/05 01:43 PM
* Childhood Abdominal Pain May Progress to Adult Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/05 01:36 PM
* Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/05 01:16 PM
* The Impact of Somatization on the Use of Gastrointestinal Health-Care Resources in Patients with IBS
HeatherAdministrator
09/22/05 04:51 PM
* Abdominal Bloating - Four Factors
HeatherAdministrator
09/22/05 04:47 PM
* Abdominal Bloating
HeatherAdministrator
09/22/05 04:46 PM
* Guidelines for the Management of Dyspepsia
HeatherAdministrator
09/22/05 04:35 PM
* IBS and Functional Dyspepsia: Different Diseases or a Single Disorder With Different Manifestations?
HeatherAdministrator
09/13/05 01:03 PM
* Increased Prevalence of Obesity in Children With Functional Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
09/13/05 12:45 PM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Toward an Understanding of Severity
HeatherAdministrator
09/01/05 11:19 AM
* How Do Symptoms in Chronic Constipation and IBS With Constipation Differ?
HeatherAdministrator
08/22/05 04:51 PM
* Role of Carbon Dioxide-Releasing Suppositories in the Treatment of Chronic Functional Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
08/22/05 04:32 PM
* Physiological Mechanisms Underlying Perceptions of Nausea and Stomach Fullness
HeatherAdministrator
08/07/05 04:33 PM
* Gastrointestinal infections can have lasting consequences as IBS
HeatherAdministrator
08/07/05 04:08 PM
* Dyspepsia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome After a Salmonella Gastroenteritis Outbreak
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/05 02:48 PM
* Abdominal Radiography Not Useful in Constipated Children
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/05 02:30 PM
* IBS—The Irritation of Inflammation
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/05 02:16 PM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the United States: Prevalence, Symptom Patterns and Impact
HeatherAdministrator
07/05/05 03:40 PM
* IBS: Improving Diagnosis, Serotonin Signaling, and Implications for Treatment
HeatherAdministrator
07/05/05 03:30 PM
* Neural Cross-Talk May Explain Overlap of Irritable Bowel, Interstitial Cystitis
HeatherAdministrator
07/05/05 03:11 PM
* Health Economics of IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/05/05 03:01 PM
* Overlapping Upper and Lower Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
06/20/05 03:52 PM
* Diagnostic Yield of Alarm Features in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
06/20/05 03:44 PM
* Colon Cancer Test Misses Growths in Women
HeatherAdministrator
06/05/05 05:56 PM
* Nongastrointestinal symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
05/22/05 07:14 PM
* Partnering With Gastroenterologists to Evaluate Patients With Chronic Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
05/08/05 06:16 PM
* Impairment in Work Productivity and Health-related Quality of Life in Patients With IBS
HeatherAdministrator
05/08/05 06:11 PM
* Nerves, Reflexes, and the Enteric Nervous System: Pathogenesis of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
05/08/05 06:06 PM
* What Does the Future Hold for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
05/08/05 06:02 PM
* Towards a better understanding of abdominal bloating and distension in functional GI disorders
HeatherAdministrator
04/24/05 03:40 PM
* IBS is a risk factor for GERD
HeatherAdministrator
04/10/05 06:25 PM
* New Recommendations for Treating Children With Chronic Abdominal Pain
HeatherAdministrator
03/28/05 01:59 PM
* Irritable bowel syndrome in developing countries
HeatherAdministrator
03/28/05 01:29 PM
* Stress and the gastrointestinal tract
HeatherAdministrator
03/28/05 01:27 PM
* Alternating Bowel Habit Subtype in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
03/28/05 12:28 PM
* Fecal Microbiota of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients
HeatherAdministrator
03/04/05 12:11 PM
* Post-infectious IBS in patients with Shigella infection
HeatherAdministrator
03/04/05 12:03 PM
* Surgical Treatment of Chronic Functional Constipation?
HeatherAdministrator
03/04/05 11:24 AM
* Chronic constipation in children
HeatherAdministrator
02/19/05 05:53 PM
* Intestinal infection and irritable bowel syndrome.
HeatherAdministrator
02/19/05 05:36 PM
* Overlap of GI symptom complexes in a US community
HeatherAdministrator
02/06/05 02:35 PM
* Magnetic pill tracking: a novel non-invasive tool for investigation of human digestive motility
HeatherAdministrator
02/06/05 02:27 PM
* The value of a general therapeutic approach in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
02/06/05 02:22 PM
* Is Constipation Associated with Decreased Physical Activity in Normally Active Subjects?
HeatherAdministrator
02/06/05 02:18 PM
* High interdigestive and postprandial motilin levels in patients with the irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
02/06/05 02:12 PM
* 10% to 20% of older adults have IBS
HeatherAdministrator
01/23/05 05:05 PM
* Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Family Practice Doctors Unaware of Guidelines
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 06:20 PM
* Stress Increases Visceral Sensitivity in IBS Patients
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 06:13 PM
* Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with colonic pacing
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 05:53 PM
* Irritable bowel syndrome: colonoscopy painful and difficult?
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 05:50 PM
* Suicide in IBS patients emphasizes need for improvements in treatment
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 05:47 PM
* New Risk for Asthma, Allergy Found in the Gut
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/05 04:53 PM
* Salt intake and smoking play major roles in GERD
HeatherAdministrator
12/20/04 02:11 PM
* Constipation and Laxative Use Found to Increase Colon Cancer Risk
HeatherAdministrator
12/20/04 01:30 PM
* Link Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Alcoholism and Mental Illness
HeatherAdministrator
12/20/04 01:24 PM
* Complementary and alternative medicine in gastroenterology
HeatherAdministrator
12/20/04 01:16 PM
* Advances in the Treatment of Chronic Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
11/28/04 02:55 PM
* Symptom patterns in functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
11/28/04 02:34 PM
* Obese Women Face Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer
HeatherAdministrator
11/08/04 04:48 PM
* Obesity is Associated With Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Symptoms
HeatherAdministrator
10/24/04 07:42 PM
* Stress Therapy Can Help Irritable Bowel
HeatherAdministrator
10/24/04 07:38 PM
* Relationship Between Colon Ischemia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/04 04:15 PM
* Clinical Update on the Treatment of Constipation in Adults
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/04 03:34 PM
* Racial Differences in the Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome on Health-Related Quality of Life
HeatherAdministrator
10/11/04 03:25 PM
* What Differentiates Chronic Constipation From IBS With Constipation?
HeatherAdministrator
09/26/04 03:25 PM
* Treatment options in irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
09/26/04 02:57 PM
* Diagnostic approach to suspected irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
09/12/04 03:38 PM
* Dyssynergic Defecation: Demographics, Symptoms, Stool Patterns, and Quality of Life
HeatherAdministrator
09/12/04 03:35 PM
* Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth - A Framework for Understanding IBS
HeatherAdministrator
08/30/04 01:46 PM
* New views - and some respect - for IBS
HeatherAdministrator
08/30/04 01:25 PM
* Categorization of dysmotility in patients with chronic constipation
HeatherAdministrator
08/08/04 02:54 PM
* Prevalence of IBS according to different diagnostic criteria
HeatherAdministrator
08/08/04 02:50 PM
* Irritable Bowel Can Follow Dysentery
HeatherAdministrator
08/08/04 02:37 PM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome Remains a Difficult Condition to Manage
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/04 02:09 PM
* Intolerance to visceral distension in functional dyspepsia or irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/04 02:17 PM
* Bacillary dysentery as a causative factor of irritable bowel syndrome and its pathogenesis
HeatherAdministrator
07/24/04 01:42 PM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to High Rates of Various Surgeries
HeatherAdministrator
07/11/04 02:15 PM
* Drug-Free Ways to Treat IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/11/04 01:47 PM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome - An Evidence-Based Approach to Diagnosis
HeatherAdministrator
06/27/04 01:14 PM
* Biases Affect Treatment of IBS
HeatherAdministrator
06/04/04 06:45 PM
* Moms with Bowel Symptoms Take Baby to Doctor More
HeatherAdministrator
05/25/04 11:53 AM
* Natural History of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
05/10/04 02:36 PM
* Intestinal Gas May Contribute to IBS Symptoms
HeatherAdministrator
05/10/04 02:29 PM
* Are Your Bowels Irritable? IBS Awareness Month is Here
HeatherAdministrator
04/09/04 07:11 PM
* Heartburn May Not Reflect Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Severity
HeatherAdministrator
03/30/04 02:43 PM
* A link between irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia
HeatherAdministrator
03/30/04 01:46 PM
* Diverticular Disease: Electrophysiologic Study and a New Concept of Pathogenesis
HeatherAdministrator
03/09/04 11:48 AM
* New Syndrome Connects Gallbladder Dysfunction And Chronic Diarrhea
HeatherAdministrator
03/09/04 11:45 AM
* Researchers Pioneer Accessible, Cost-Effective Treatments for IBS
HeatherAdministrator
03/08/04 06:48 PM
* Splitting IBS: from original Rome to Rome II criteria
HeatherAdministrator
02/10/04 02:35 PM
* Utilization patterns and net direct medical cost to Medicaid of IBS
HeatherAdministrator
02/10/04 02:34 PM
* Family practitioners' attitudes and knowledge about IBS
HeatherAdministrator
02/10/04 02:32 PM
* The Effect of Somatization on Gastrointestinal and Extraintestinal Symptoms of IBS
HeatherAdministrator
01/26/04 03:26 PM
* Surgery and IBS
HeatherAdministrator
01/26/04 03:21 PM
* IBS Subgroups by Bowel Habit Predominance
HeatherAdministrator
01/26/04 03:13 PM
* Visceral perception thresholds in irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/04 11:56 AM
* Electric activity of the colon in irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/04 11:52 AM
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome's Possible Genetic Link
HeatherAdministrator
01/07/04 11:40 AM
* Intestinal gas distribution determines abdominal symptoms
HeatherAdministrator
12/16/03 12:27 PM
* Faecal incontinence - Many treatment options now exist
HeatherAdministrator
12/16/03 12:17 PM
* Abnormal Colonic Propagated Activity in Patients with Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
12/16/03 12:07 PM
* Colonic Propulsive Impairment in Intractable Slow-Transit Constipation
HeatherAdministrator
12/16/03 12:03 PM
* Overlapping upper and lower GI symptoms in IBS patients with constipation or diarrhea
HeatherAdministrator
12/01/03 05:51 PM
* Familial aggregation of irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
12/01/03 05:49 PM
* Outlook affects bowel disorder patients
HeatherAdministrator
11/18/03 03:30 PM
* Doctors unmoved by bowel misery
HeatherAdministrator
11/18/03 03:28 PM
* Travelers' Diarrhoea Can Trigger Irritable Bowel
HeatherAdministrator
11/04/03 03:21 PM
* Mind-Body Technique Eases Kids' Gut Pain
HeatherAdministrator
10/30/03 11:17 AM
* Molecular Alterations In Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
10/20/03 03:46 PM
* Three in Four People With IBS Also Have Functional Dyspepsia
HeatherAdministrator
10/15/03 03:28 PM
* Infectious Gastroenteritis Linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
09/30/03 02:27 PM
* Association Between Pain Episodes & High Amplitude Pressure Waves in IBS
HeatherAdministrator
09/16/03 03:54 PM
* Constipation and its management
HeatherAdministrator
09/16/03 03:41 PM
* Contributions of suggestion, desire, and expectation to placebo effects in IBS patients
HeatherAdministrator
09/16/03 03:28 PM
* Do published guidelines for evaluation of IBS reflect practice?
HeatherAdministrator
08/30/03 02:40 PM
* Cognitive-behavioral therapy versus education and desipramine versus placebo for IBS
HeatherAdministrator
08/12/03 12:54 PM
* Distinctive features of postinfective irritable bowel syndrome
HeatherAdministrator
07/28/03 03:18 PM
* UCLA/CURE Neuroenteric Disease Program Newsletter
HeatherAdministrator
07/23/03 10:38 AM
* Bacterial Overgrowth in IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/18/03 12:15 PM
* Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.
HeatherAdministrator
07/18/03 11:54 AM
* Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/18/03 11:44 AM
* Antibiotics increase functional abdominal symptoms.
HeatherAdministrator
07/18/03 11:41 AM
* Treatment of the irritable bowel syndrome.
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 11:02 PM
* Extraintestinal symptoms in IBS and IBD
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 06:21 PM
* Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome.
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 06:19 PM
* Dieting severity and GI symptoms in college women.
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 01:13 PM
* Functional GI disorders and eating disorders - Relevance of the association
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 11:14 AM
* Features of eating disorders in patients with IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/15/03 11:12 AM
* New and Important Insights Into IBS
HeatherAdministrator
07/14/03 03:24 PM
* The Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Fibromyalgia Connection
HeatherAdministrator
07/14/03 03:19 PM
* Update on Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
HeatherAdministrator
07/14/03 02:55 PM
* Irritable bowel syndrome in primary care: The patients’ and doctors’ views
HeatherAdministrator
07/14/03 02:43 PM
* Inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome: separate or unified?
HeatherAdministrator
07/14/03 02:32 PM

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