UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: New pediatric maintenance fluid recommendations

Keywords: Maintenance fluids, D5, NS, hyponatremia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/15/2019 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 2/19/2019)
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Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte abnormality in hospitalized patients, affecting approximately 15-30% of patients.  Children have historically been given hypotonic maintenance IV fluids based off of theoretical calculations from the 1950s.  Multiple studies have shown complications related to iatrogenic hyponatremia, including increased length of hospital stay, seizures and death.

The American Academy of pediatrics completed a systematic review and developed an updated clinical practice guideline:

Patient's age 28 days to 18 years requiring maintenance IV fluids should receive isotonic solutions with the appropriate amount KCl and dextrose.

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Category: Toxicology

Title: Frequency of adverse effects after administration of physostigmine

Keywords: physostigmine, anticholinergic toxicity, adverse effects (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/14/2019 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH
Click here to contact Hong Kim, MD, MPH

 

Physostigmine is a cholinergic agent that can be administered to reverse delirium associated with anticholinergic toxicity. However, it is infrequenly used since the reports of cardiac arrest in patients with TCA overdose.

A recently published study reviewed 161 articles – involving 2299 patients – to determine the adverse effects and their frequency after the administration of physostigmine. 

Findings

Adverse effects were observed in 415 patients (18.1%)

  • In patients with anticholinergic overdose: 7.7%
  • In patients with non-anticholinergic agent overdose: 20.6%

Specific adverse effects

  • Hypersalivation: 206 (9%) 
  • Nausea/vomiting: 96 (4.2%)
  • Seizure: 14 (0.61%)
  • Symptomatic bradycardia: 8 (0.35%) – including 3 with bradyasystolic arrest
  • Asymptomatic bradycardia: 4 (0.17%)
  • Ventricular fibrillation: 1 (0.04%) patient had a history of coronary artery disease
  • Cardiac arrest: 4 (0.17%)
  • Death: 5 (0.22%)

Of 394 TCA overdose, adverse effects occurred in 14 patients (3.6%)

Conclusion

  • Adverse effects from physostigmine occurs infrequently. 
  • However, inappropriate dosing or use of physostigmine can result in cholinergic toxicity.
  • For isolated anticholinergic toxicity (e.g. antihistamine overdose): physostigmine dosing: 0.5 mg (dilute in 5 – 10 mL normal saline) IV over 2 -5 minutes. May repeat every 5-10 minute to max dose total of 2 mg. (patient needs to be on cardiac monitor with atropine at bedside) 
  • Therapeutic goal: reversal of delirium
  • Avoid physostigmine in the presence of QRS widening (cardiac Na-channel blockade) and patients with history of underlying coronary artery disease.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Enterocolitis in the Critically-Ill Neutropenic Patient

Keywords: neutropenic fever, typhlitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, septic shock (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/12/2019 by Kami Windsor, MD (Updated: 2/19/2019)
Click here to contact Kami Windsor, MD

 

Neutropenic enterocolitis can occur in immunosuppressed patients, classically those being treated for malignancy (hematologic much more commonly than solid tumor). When involving the cecum specifically, it is known as "typhlitis."

It should be considered in any febrile neutropenic patients with abdominal pain or other symptoms of GI discomfort (diarrhea, vomiting, lower GI bleeding), and can be confirmed with CT imaging.

A recent study found that invasive fungal disease, most often candidemia, occurred in 20% of febrile neutropenic patients with CT-confirmed enteritis, a rate that increased to 30% if the patient was in septic shock.

 

Take Home: 

1. Have a lower threshold for abdominal CT imaging in your patients with febrile neutropenia and abdominal pain/GI symptoms, especially if they are critically ill.

2. Consider addition of IV antifungal therapy if they are hemodynamically unstable with enterocolitis on CT.

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Spurling’s maneuver and modified Spurling’s maneuver aka neck compression test.

This maneuver is highly specific for the presence of cervical root compression

Can be used to reproduce radicular pain/symptoms.

Perform this maneuver with caution as it should not be performed in patients who have potential cervical spine instability.

Keeping the patient’s head in a neutral position pressing down on the top of the head. If this fails to reproduce the patient's pain, the test is repeated with the head extended, rotated and tilted to the affected side (the modified Spurling’s maneuver).

Reproduction of symptoms (limb pain or paresthesias) beyond the shoulder is considered positive. Neck pain alone is nonspecific and constitutes a negative test.

The test has a high specificity (0.89 to 1.00) but low sensitivity (0.38 to 0.97).

            Meaning a positive test is helpful but a negative test does not rule out radicular pain.

This test should be used in conjunction with a thorough history and physical examination (strength, sensation and reflex testing)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17QWqbXjSpc

 

 

 

 

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Management of Acute Variceal Bleeding

  • Patients with an acute UGIB secondary to esophageal or gastric varices frequently present in extremis.
  • The initial resuscitation of patients with a variceal bleed should focus on the administration of antibiotics, packed red blood cells (PRBC), vasoactive agents, and emergent endoscopy.
  • Antibiotics have been shown to reduce recurrent bleeding and mortality. A third-generation cephalosporin (e.g., ceftriaxone) is commonly recommended as the initial antibiotic of choice.
  • Utilize a restrictive PRBC transfusion strategy to target a Hb between 7 to 8 g/dL.
  • Vasoactive agents (e.g., octreotide) reduce portal pressure through splanchnic vasoconstriction and have been shown to reduce acute bleeding and the need for transfusion.

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Yes.

Serum creatinine decreases with age with the decrease in lean body mass. However, the number of functioning glemeruli and kidney function decrease with age as well, making the creatinine an unreliable indicator of renal function in older adults.

The solution? Calculate the creatinine clearance (CrCl) (or GFR) for a more accurate assessment of the renal function. You can use simple equations such as the Cockroft-Gault equation which incorporate the body weight and age.

CrCl (mL/min) =      (140-age) x lean body weight (kg)   x (0.85 if female) 

                                      serum creatinine (mg/dL) x 72

 

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Prevent Hypoglycemia when Treating Hyperkalemia

Keywords: hypoglycemia, hyperkalemia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/2/2019 by Ashley Martinelli (Updated: 2/19/2019)
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Takeaways

A recent retrospective study examined the incidence of hypoglycemia for 1307 adult patient encounters with hyperkalemia (>5.3 mmol/L) over a five-year timeframe.
 
409 (31%) of patients were treated with IV insulin.
Within 3 hours of insulin administration:
-344/409 (84%) had a glucose test
-68/409 (17%) experienced hypoglycemia (glucose <70 mg/dL)
-31/409 (8%) experienced severe hypoglycemia (glucose < 50 mg/dL)
 
Patients with serum glucose <100mg/dL prior to insulin administration experienced even higher rates of hypoglycemia, 38/112 (34%).
 
Patients who did not receive IV insulin had a hypoglycemia rate of 4%.
 
In patients with critical illness, a single episode of hypoglycemia has been independently associated with increased mortality.  Ensure patients receive adequate dextrose loading doses based on their pre-insulin blood glucose and monitor point of care glucose every 30-60 minutes for the first 3 hours of care. Use automated order sets when available.

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Category: Toxicology

Title: Methylene Blue: New use for an old antidote

Keywords: Methylene Blue (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/24/2019 by Kathy Prybys, DO (Emailed: 1/31/2019) (Updated: 1/31/2019)
Click here to contact Kathy Prybys, DO

Takeaways

Most clinicians are familiar with use of methylene blue for the treatment of methemoglobinemia, as a urinary analgesic, anti-infective, and anti-spasmodic agent, or for its use in endoscopy as a gastrointestinal dye, but this compound also has a role as a rescue antidote in life threatening poisonings causing refractory shock states and other shock states.

  • Nitric Oxide plays an important role in the regulation of vascular tone.
  • Metylene blue inhibits the NO-cGMP pathway which decreases vasodilitation and increases responsiveness to vasopressors.
  • Several case reports document hemodynamic improvement in recalcitrant shock states form calcium channel and beta blockers despite multiple therapies including vasopressors, glucagon, high dose insulin, and fat emulsion therapy.
  • Dosing is 1-2 mg/kg (0.1-0.2 ml/kg) of 1% solution given IV over 5 minutes folllowed by continuous infusion.

 

Bottom Line: 

Methylene blue should be considered when standard treatment of distributive shock fails. 

 

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: OHCA in Pregnancy

Keywords: OHCA, cardiac arrest, resuscitation, maternal cardiac arrest, pregnancy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/29/2019 by Kami Windsor, MD
Click here to contact Kami Windsor, MD

Takeaways

 

Historically, there has been very limited data regarding the epidemiology of OHCA in pregnant females. Two recently-published studies tried to shed some light on the issue.

Both Maurin et al.1 and Lipowicz et al.2 looked at all-cause out-of-hospital maternal cardiac arrest (MCA) data in terms of numbers and management, in Paris and Toronto respectively, from 2009/2010 to 2014. Collectively, they found: 

  • MCA was relatively rare: 0.8 MCA per 1000 OHCA (Maurin) and 1.71 MCA per 100,000 pregnant females (Lipowicz)
  • Low incidence of bystander CPR in witnessed MCA (33% and 0%)
  • Adherence to PMCS guidelines was poor 
  • Maternal survival was lower than what has been previously quoted for in-hospital CA: 12.5 and 16.7% compared to 40-50%3,4

A few reminders from the 2015 AHA guidelines for the management of cardiac arrest in pregnancy: 

  • Hand location for chest compressions should be in the center of the chest as for nonpregnant patients (previous recommendations had been to shift upward to accommodate for the gravid uterus but there is no data to support this).
  • Chest compressions should be performed with the patient supine, using manual lateral uterine displacement for aortocaval decompression. Left lateral tilt position is no longer recommended due to poorer quality of cardiac compressions, the lack of full aortocaval decompression, and further complication of other procedures such as airway management.
  • IV or IO access should be obtained above the diaphragm, to ensure no interference to flow to the heart by the gravid uterus.
  • Rate and depth of chest compressions, ACLS drugs and doses, and defibrillation all remain the same as in nonpregnant OHCA patients.
    • NB: As opposed to nonpregnant patients periarrest, oxygen saturation in the pregnant female should be maintained at 95% or greater, or PaO2 > 70mmHg, to ensure appropriate oxygen delivery to the fetus. The goal PCO2 is ~28-32 mmHg, to facilitate fetal CO2 removal.6  
  • If advanced airway is pursued, the most experienced provider should perform intubation due to the higher intrinsic difficulties, more rapid decompensation, and propensity for airway trauma and bleeding in the pregnant female.
  • Perimortem c-section should occur within the first 5 minutes of cardiac arrest / arrival to the ED in ongoing arrest. 

 

Bottom Line: Although maternal cardiac arrest is relatively rare, survival in OHCA is lower than perhaps previously thought. Areas to improve include public education on the importance of bystander CPR in pregnant females, and appropriate physician adherence to PMCS recommendations, with decreased on-scene time by EMS in order to decrease time to PMCS. 

 

 

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Category: Airway Management

Title: Hook of hamate fracture

Keywords: had, wrist, carpal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/26/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 2/19/2019)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Hook of hamate fracture

Often missed fracture despite classic history

A frequent athletic injury

Seen in stick sports (golf, baseball, hockey)

Typically caused by a direct blow (grounding a gold club)

https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/6035/images/hamate_baseball.jpg

Patient presents with hypothenar pain and pain with tight gripping

https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/6035/images/hamate_golf.jpg

Presentation may be subacute with longstanding wrist or palmer pain

Physical exam: Tender to palpation over hook of hamate

Specialized test: hook of hamate pull test

Supinated hand held in ulnar deviation. Ask patient to actively flex 4th and 5th digits against resistance at DIP.
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-mjRnC1yWQ

 

Radiology: Consider adding carpal tunnel view to standard wrist series if diagnosis is suspected

CT sometimes needed to image the fracture

 

Tx: Immobilize in a short arm splint

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Therapeutic use or overdose of tramadol has been associated with seizure.  However, it is unknown if there are any specific predisposing factor that increases a patient’s risk of seizure after tramadol use/overdose.

In a recently published study, eighty patient data with single ingestion of tramadol were reviewed.

  • 52.5% of the patient developed seizure
  • 11% developed serotonin syndrome

 

Risk of seizure

  • Higher risk of seizure were found in Asian patients (OR=7.1, 95% CI: 1.9 – 27.3) and patients with abuse/misuse of tramadol (OR=3.2, 95% CI: 1.2-8.3)
  • Patients who presented with opioid toxidrome were less likely to develop seizure (OR=0.12, 95% CI: 0.02 – 0.71) 
  • Acute overdose and age were not associated with increased risk of seizure.

 

Conclusion

In this small study, Asian patients and patients with abuse/misuse were at higher risk of developing seizure compared to patients who overdose tramadol.

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Takeaways

Intravenous (IV) thrombolytics for stroke remain a controversial topic for emergency medicine (EM) physicians, with numerous editorials and articles questioning the strength of the recommendations by the AHA in 2018. Nevertheless, it is prudent for the emergency medicine provider to be aware that administration of IV tPA is a Level I recommendation in any stroke patient with a time of onset (or last known normal) up to 4.5 hours in patients with no contraindications. Clinical judgement should always direct care, and documentation for deviation from the guidelines (if any) should be done.

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Respiratory Complications of ICIs

  • Acute respiratory failure (ARF) is the leading cause of ICU admission for immunocompromised patients.
  • While infectious etiologies remain the most common cause of ARF in these patients, there is an increasing prevalence of non-infectious, treatment-related causes.
  • Immune check-point inhibitors (ICIs) are now used with increasing frequency, and can cause severe pulmonary toxicity in approximately 6% of patients.
  • Pearls for ICI pulmonary toxicity include:
    • Acute pneumonitis is the most common presentation
    • Median time of onset of approximately 4 months after treatment initiation
    • Symptoms include dry cough, hypoxemia, and infiltrates not c/w CHF, infection, or progression of malignancy
    • Treatment is to DC the ICI and initiate steroids

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Anesthestic Pearls

Keywords: anesthetic, orthopedics, wound (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/19/2019 by Michael Bond, MD
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

When caring for a patient with a laceration we often do lcoal infiltration prior to suturing but remember the benefits of regional nerve blocks

Benefits of Regional Nerve Blocks

  • Less Painful
  • Prevents distortion of the wound which can help with cosmetic closure
  • Allows for a greater area to be anesthesized with less anesthetic use (prevents toxic levels)
  • Can allow for longer anesthetic time

Quick reminder of properities of common anesthetic

Anesthetic Onset of Action Duration of Action Max Dose 
No Epi
Max Dose
With Epi
Lidocaine Seconds 1 hr  4mg/kg 7mg/kg
Bupivicaine Seconds + > 6 hrs  2mg/kg 3mg/kg

Final reminder:  There is no evidence that epinephrine causes necrosis and it can be used safely in digital blocks. Duration of action is max 90 minutes. Even individuals that have injected themselves with EpiPens into their hands have not had any long term sequelue or necrosis seen. Vast majority required no treatment at all.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: TXA use in pediatric patients for post tonsillectomy bleeding

Keywords: Post-tonsillectomy, bleeding, airway (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/18/2019 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 2/19/2019)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Post tonsillectomy hemorrhage occurs and 0.1-3% of post tonsillectomy patient's.  It occurs typically greater than 24 hours after surgery and up to 4-10 days postoperatively.  A survey of otolaryngologists showed that ED management strategies for active bleeding have included direct pressure, clot suction, silver nitrate, topical epinephrine, and thrombin powder.

This article was a case study demonstrating the use of nebulized tranexamic acid (TXA) for post tonsillectomy hemorrhage in a 3-year-old patient.  The patient had a copious amount of oral bleeding and had failed treatment with nebulized racemic epinephrine and direct pressure was not an option due to the patient's cooperation and small mouth.  250 mg of IV TXA was given via nebulizer with a flow rate of 8 L.  Bleeding stopped 5-7 minutes after completion of the nebulizer.  The patient was then taken to the OR for definitive management.  No adverse effects were noticed.

TXA in the pediatric population has been shown to decrease surgical blood loss and transfusions in cardiac, spine and craniofacial surgeries.  Studies have also been done in pediatric patients with diffuse alveolar hemorrhage using doses of 250 mg for children less than 25 kg and 500 mg for those who are greater than 25 kg.

Bottom line: There are case reports of nebulized TXA use in the pediatric population with no adverse outcomes noted.  More research is needed.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Late Awakening After Cardiac Arrest

Keywords: Cardiac arrest, neruo (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/15/2019 by Daniel Haase, MD (Updated: 1/19/2019)
Click here to contact Daniel Haase, MD

--Late awakening (>48h after sedation held) was common (78/402) in patients with cardiac arrest in prospective cohort study

--Poor prognostic signs of discontinuous (10-49% suppression) EEG and absent brain stem reflexes were independently associated with late awakening. Use of midazolam also associated with late awakening

--Late awakeners had good functional outcome when compared to early awakeners

DON'T NEUROPROGNOSTIC EARLY (OR IN ED)!

And traditional poor prognostic signs may not be as poor as previously thought!

------------------

Rey A, Rossetti AO, Miroz JP, et al. Late Awakening in Survivors of Postanoxic Coma: Early Neurophysiologic Predictors and Association With ICU and Long-Term Neurologic Recovery. Critical Care MedicineJanuary 2019 - Volume 47 - Issue 1 - p 85–92

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Epidemiology of Alpine Skiing Injuries

Keywords: Skiing, gamekeeper (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/12/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 2/19/2019)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Epidemiology of Alpine Skiing Injuries

 

Mean age of injury 30.3 (range 24 to 35.4 years)

Populations at greatest risk are children and adolescents and possibly adults over 50 (increased risk of tibial plateau fractures)

Sex: Males> females

              Knee injuries, esp to ACL, are higher among females

              Fractures greater in males

Injury location greatest at lower extremity (primarily to knee)

              Primarily sprains to MCL and ACL (increasing incidence)

14% occur to upper extremity and primarily involve the thumb and shoulder

              Skiers thumb – FOOSH with thumb Abducted gripping pole

              Pole is implicated as this injury is rare among snowboarders

The pole acts as a lever to amplify the forced Abduction of the thumb as the outstretched hand hits the ground.

Let go before you hit the ground!!

13% occur to head and neck

The number of all type injuries has decreased over time with advances in equipment and helmet use

Proportion of skiers wearing a helmet exceeds 80%        

However, the number of traumatic fatalities has remained constant

              Accidents involving fatalities exceed the protective capacity of helmets

              Helmets likely decrease risk of mild and moderate head injury

 

 

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Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is primarily a pediatric disease and can cause a wide variety of neurologic symptoms. As such, should always be in the differential for pediatric patient presenting with vague neurologic symptoms including altered mental status. It is an immune-mediated, demyelinating disease that can affect any part of the CNS; usually preceding a viral illness or rarely, immunizations.

The average age of onset is 5-8 years of age with no gender predilection. It usually has a prodromal. That includes headache, fever, malaise, back pain etc. Neurological symptoms can vary and may present with ataxia, altered mental status, seizures, focal symptoms, behavioral changes or coma.

MRI is the primary modality to diagnose this condition. Other possible indicators may be mild pleocytosis with lymphocyte predominance, and elevated inflammatory markers such as ESR, CRP. These findings, however, are neither sensitive nor specific.

First-line treatment for ADEM is systemic corticosteroids, typically 20-30 mg/kg of methylprednisolone for 2-5 days, followed by oral prednisone 1-2 mg/kg for 1-2 weeks then 3-6-week taper. For steroid refractory cases, IVIG and plasmapheresis may be considered.

ADEM usually has a favorable long-term prognosis in the majority of patients. However, some may experience residual neurological deficits including ataxia, blindness, clumsiness, etc.

Take home points:

  • Always keep ADEM on the differential for any pediatric patient presenting with any neurologic symptoms
  • MRI is the diagnostic modality of choice.
  • If ADEM diagnosed, start treatment early in conjunction with pediatric neurology.

 

 

 

 
 

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Take home naloxone (THN) programs have been expanded to help reduce the opioid overdose-related deaths. A study was done in Australia to characterize a cohort of heroin overdose deaths to examine if there was an opportunity for a bystander to intervene at the time of fatal overdose.

235 heroin-overdose deaths were investigated during a 2 year study period in Victoria, Australia.

  • 79% (n=186) of fatality occurred at a private residence
  • 83% (n=192) of the decedents were alone at the time of the fatal overdose
  • In 34 cases, decedent was with someone else.
    • Half of these witnesses were also significantly impaired at the time of the fatal overdose.
  • The opportunity for intervention by a bystander was present in only 19 cases.

Conclusion

  1. There was no witness or bystander in majority of overdose deaths.
  2. THN alone may only lead to modest reduction in fatal heroin overdose.

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  • Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) volume is a predictor of mortality and clinical outcome.
  • Communicating ICH volume to neurosurgical and neurocritical care consultants can help direct treatment decisions.
  • ICH volume can be estimated using the ABC/2 formula:
    • Select the CT slice with the largest area of the hemorrhage (reference slice)
    • A = Measure the largest diameter
    • B = Measure the largest diameter perpendicular to A
    • C = Multiply the number of CT slices with the hemorrhage by the slice thickness
      • Slices with 25-75% of the hematoma volume compared to the reference slice count as 1/2 slice
      • Slices with <25% of the hematoma volume compared to the reference slice do not count

  • A recent study by Dsouza et al. found that EM attendings as well as EM trainees were reliable in estimating ICH volume using ABC/2 compared to radiologists.

Bottom Line:  EPs can reliably estimate ICH volume using the ABC/2 formula.  Communicating ICH volume to neurosurgical and neurocritical care consultants can help direct treatment decisions.

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