What Is A Bariatric Commode ?

by | Beginners Info

As I do my research for all my articles, or looking for item for my elderly mom, I am always amazed at the number of different names by which pieces of equipment are known. And it gets a little bit confusing to say the least. So I am hoping to bring a little clarity to the world of the bariatric commode.

Bariatric commodes, also known as a heavy duty commodes, are commodes which are specifically for larger individuals. Standard commodes will support the weight of a person up to 300 – 350 lb, depending on the model. In general, any commode above that is considered a bariatric commode, and bariatric commodes depending on the model will support anywhere form 375 lb, up to as much as 1500 lb.

There are bariatric versions of all the existing types of bedside commode, as you might well expect, so you can find all the following –

  • bariatric bedside commode
  • bariatric 3-in-1 bedside commode
  • bariatric drop arm bedside commode
  • bariatric transfer bench commode
  • bariatric transport commode
  • bariatric shower chair transport commode

Some bariatric commodes will look just like the standard static (without wheels) 3-in-one or drop arm commode models, but may be a bit wider, and will be made out of steel rather than aluminum alloy to support the extra weight.

There are though, a lot of bariatric models which look rather different from the standard bedside commodes.

Instead of having what looks like an ordinary toilet seat sitting on a metal chair frame, they have a large flat seat which extends the whole breadth and with of the frame – almost like a flat bench – such models are usually for supporting around 500 lb and up.

With these larger bariatric commodes quite a number do not come as models which you fold out and assemble yourself on delivery, they will be pre-assembled without folding joints so that the commodes can support a larger weight.

If you want to pick a bariatric commode by weight I have an article wher I list over 60 bariatric commodes by weight capacity, and where you will also find their name, model number and manyfacturer. You can check that article here.

Static bariatric commode features

Bariatric commodes will very often have a number of features that the standard bedside commodes won’t often have, aside from much stronger frames.

The frames of the majority of standard commodes are made from aluminum alloy, with some being made from steel.

Bariatric commodes frames are typically made from steel, and the commodes with the higher weight capacities will have multiple layers of tubing, and far stronger joints on the commode.

 

The following features are often found on bariatric bedside commodes –

  • elongated commode seat – open front and closed front
  • elongated seat with an extra wide frame
  • extra wide frames with a wider seat
  • tall bariatric bedside commode

The following dimensions are those of an average sized 3-in-1 commode, which you can compare with the examples of bariatric commodes of each type below –

Seat size: 13″ wide x 14″ deep

Seat opening: 8″ wide x 10″ deep

Adjustable seat height: 17″- 23″

Width between the armrests: 18″

Overall width: 20″

Base Dimensions: 20″ wide x 20″ deep

Elongated seats

The first feature to look at is the elongated seat.

The elongated seat gives the user easier access for cleaning themselves as it is elongated from front to back.

An elongated seat may be either open front, or closed front, with the open front affording even more access to help facilitate cleaning for the user.

The frames themselves are not much wider than a standard 3-in-1 commode, but they are 2″ and 2 1/2 inches wider.

An example of a closed front elongated seat on a bedside commode is –

 

Guardian Medline 3 in 1 commode

Model No: MDS89664EL

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Elongated seat size: 16.5″ deep

Seat height: 17″ – 23″

Width between the arms: 19″

Overall width: 22″

The Guardian Medline 3 in 1 commode” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 2″ wider.

The seat height is the same as a standard 3-in-1 commode.

An example of an open front elongated seat on a bedside commode is –

 

Probasics heavy duty wide commode with elongated seat

Model No: BSB31C

Weight capacity: 450 lb

Elongated seat size: 15.5″ wide x 15.5″ deep

Seat height: 17″ – 23″

Base width: 30″

Width between the arms: 21″

Overall width at arms: 22.5″

The “Probasics heavy duty wide commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 5 1/2 inches, and the frame is 2 1/2″ wider.

Again the seat height is the same as a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Elongated seats with extra wide frames

These models combine the elongated seat with an extra wide frame, to give more room to accommodate the thighs and hips of larger users for greater comfort and practicality.

It is around the weight capacities of 400 lb and above that these seats seem to start to become available on bedside commodes.

The following two commodes are examples of this type of static bariatric commode –

TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode with elongated seat

Model No: TFI3224G

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Seat height: 18 1/4″- 22 1/4″

Width between the armrests: 22 3/4″

Overall Base width: 26″

The “TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 9 inches, and the overall frame width is 2 3/4″ wider.

The seat height is lower than on a standard 3-in-1 commode by 3/4 of an inch.

TFI Healthcare extra large bedside commode with elongated seat

Model No: TFI3240

Weight capacity: 700 lb 

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Seat height: 18″ – 21″

Width between the armrests: 24 1/4″

Overall width: 28.5″

 

The TFI Healthcare extra large bedside commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in 1 commode seat – 9 inches, and the overall frame width is 4 1/4″ wider.

The seat height is lower than on a standard 3-in-1 commode by two inches.

Extra wide frames with wider seats

In the 400 lb weight capacity and above we  see commodes with extra wide frames and marginally wider seats.

Extra wide frames are generally between 24 and 26 1/2″ in between the armrests, as opposed to around 18″ on a standard bedside commode.

The seats themselves are only a few inches wider, and the seat shape is  – deeper from front to back – elongated.

The extra width is again to accommodate larger hips and thighs, and to facilitate the user being able to clean themselves easily.

 

Here are some examples of extra wide bedside static commodes –

 

Tuffcare extra wide 3 in 1  commode chair – 

Model No: M450

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Seat size: 15 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 18″ – 23″

Width between armrests: 24″

Overall width: 28″

The Tuffcare extra wide 3 in 1  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than that of a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 4″ wider.

The seat height is almost the same as on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Tuffcare extra wide drop arm  commode chair – 

Model No: M470

Weight capacity: 450 lb 

Seat size: 15 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 19″ – 24″

Width between armrests: 25″

Overall width: 31″

The “Tuffcare extra wide drop arm  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 11″ wider.

The seat height is 1″ higher than on a standard 3-in-1 commode .

Nova heavy duty wide drop arm  commode chair – 

Model No: 8580

Weight capacity: 450 lb 

Seat size: 23″ wide x 18 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 19 1/2″ – 23 1/2″

Width between armrests: 26 1/2″

Overall width: 33″

The “Nova heavy duty wide drop arm  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than that on a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 8 1/2 inches, and the frame is 13″ wider.

The seat height is fractionally higher than a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Full width seats

These are commodes which have a seat that stretches across the whole frame width and depth, and are in the weight capacity range of 500 lb and above.

The width between the arms on these models is between 24 1/2″. and 39 3/4″.

Some examples of these larger models of bariatric commode are –

 

Drive deluxe bariatric drop arm commode 

Model No: 11135-1

Weight capacity: 1000 lb 

Seat width: 25 1/2″

Seat height: 17 1/2″- 22″

Width between the arms: 25 1/2″

Overall width: 28 1/2″

The Drive deluxe bariatric drop arm commode”  has a seat which the same seat depth as a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 8 1/2″ wider.

The seat height is the same as on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Lumex heavy duty drop arm commode 

Model No: 6438A

Weight capacity: 600 lb 

Seat width: 25″

Seat height: 19 1/2″ – 23 1/2″

Width between the arms: 25″

Overall width: 31″

The Lumex heavy duty drop arm commode” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard seat – 9 inches, and the frame is 11″ wider.

The seat height is fractionally higher than a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Probasic heavy duty drop arm commode 

Model No: BSBDAC

Weight capacity: 650 lb 

Seat width: 24 1/2″

Seat height: 19 1/2″ – 23 1/2″

Width between the arms: 24 1/2″

Overall width: 28 1/2″

The example above has a seat which has the same seat depth as a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 8 1/2″ wider.

The seat height is fractionally higher than on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Nova heavy duty drop arm commode 

Model No: 8583

Weight capacity: 500 lb 

Seat width: 24 1/4″

Seat height: 19″ – 23″

Width between the arms: 24 1/2″

Overall width: 28 1/2″

The Nova heavy duty drop arm commode” has a seat which 1/4 deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 8 1/2″ wider.

The seat height is the same as on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

TFI Healthcare extra extra wide heavy duty commode with drop arm and elongated seat 

Model No: 3243/1

Weight capacity: 1000 lb 

Seat width: 36″

Seat depth: 12″

Seat height: 20.5″

Width between the arms: 36.25″

Overall width: 39.75″

 

The TFI Healthcare extra extra wide heavy duty commode with drop arm and elongated seat”  has a seat which 2″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 19 3/4″ wider.

The seat height is a fixed height of 20 1/2″ which is 2 1/2″ lower than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Tall bedside commodes

As well as having increased weight capacities some of the bariatric commodes, although surprisingly few, have a greater seat height range as well.

The standard bedside commode has, at it’s widest, a range of 16″ – 23″ from the floor to the seat.

The tallest bedside commode, has a maximum height of a towering 28″ ! 

For taller individuals there is really only one bedside commode and that is the –

TFI Healthcare Extra tall wide commode with elongated seat

Model No: 3244

Weight capacity: 650 lb

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Width between the armrests: 24″

Overall width: 28″

Seat height: 19″ – 28″

The “TFI Healthcare Extra tall wide commode with elongated seat” has a seat which 9″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 8″ wider.

The seat height maximum of 28 ” is 5″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode. This is currently the tallest bedside commode available.

There are some which are a little higher than others –

Drive deluxe drop-arm bedside commode

Model No: 11125KD

Weight capacity: 300 lb

Width between the armrests: 19.5″

Overall width: 23.5″

Seat height: 20″ – 24″

The Drive deluxe drop-arm bedside commode” has a seat which 9″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 3 1/2″ wider.

The seat height maximum of 24 ” is 1″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Medline heavy duty padded drop arm bedside commode 

Model No: G98204

Weight capacity: 350 lb

Width between the armrests: 18 1/2″

Seat size: ” 18 wide x 20″ deep

Seat height: 20″ – 25″  

TheMedline heavy duty padded drop arm bedside commode” commode has a seat an open front.

The seat height maximum of 25 ” is 2″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair – (previously mentioned in extra wide frames and seats)

Model No: M470

Weight capacity: 450 lb 

Seat size: 15 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ deep

Width between armrests: 25″

Overal width: 31″

Seat height: 19″ – 24″

 

The “Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair” has the same seat depth as that on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 11 ” wider.

The seat height maximum of 24 ” is 1″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Can you use a bariatric commodes over a toilet ?

A standard 3-in-1 bedside commode can be used over a toilet as – 

  • a toilet safety frame
  • a raised toilet seat – if a person has trouble with sitting and standing you can reduce the distance by raising the commode seat level from the floor

You may be wondering if it is possible to use a bariatric bedside commode over a toilet, as you can do with standard 3-in-1 bedside commodes.

The answer to this is a simple one, if the bariatric commode has adjustable leg height, and that some of the adjustable heights are greater than the height of the rim of you toilet bowl rim, you will be able to use the commode over your toilet.

This is of course unless your bariatric commode is so wide that it won’t fit – a lot of toilets are placed in corners of bathrooms and a commode which is 39 1/2 inches wide may not fit – you would need 20″ between the centre of the toilet bowl and the side wall next to the toilet, so measure to make sure if you are getting a really wide commode.

The other reason a bariatric commode may not fit over a toilet is, if it has a fixed leg height which is lower than your toilet bowl rim.

Most retailers will say if a bariatric commode is meant for use over a toilet – if the bariatric commode is called a “bariatric 3-in-1 commode” you are safe to assume it fits over a toilet – but again check the width of the frame if the space around your toilet is tight.

How to use a bariatric commode over a toilet ?

As I said, you can use a bariatric commode in two ways over a toilet

  • as a toilet safety frame
  • as a raised toilet seat

The only difference between the two is the height of the commode seat, and if it is being used as a raised toilet seat with a large gap between the the seat and the rim of the toilet bowl, you will probably want to use the splash guard to avoid any unhappy accidents.

The following instructions are for bariatric commodes with adjustable height legs, if you have a fixed leg and it clears the toilet bowl rim, you just remove the commode bucket and place it over the toilet, once you have the seat in the upright position on your toilet.

*****Do note, that if you have bariatric commode seat which is very deep, you may want to actually remove the seat and saet lid from your toilet before placing the commode over the toilet, as the seat and lid may take up too much space in the upright position on the toilet, and push the opening on the bariatric commode too far forwards. You just need to check first.*****

To set up a bariatric commode over a toilet –

 

  • remove the commode bucket from its bucket platform under the seat
  • on your actual toilet place the existing lid and toilet seat into the upright position
  • set the height of the bariatric commode legs so that the bariatric commode seat clears the rim of you toilet bowl
  • to change the length of a bariatric commode leg, you depress the spring-loaded button on the leg, and then you either pull the legs to lengthen, or push the leg up to shorten
  • the bariatric commode legs must all be the same length
  • check for the clicking sound as the spring loaded buttons lock into position – sometimes they don’t come out fully, and if they haven’t that leg will slip down to the next level when you sit on it potentially causing a nasty accident
  • if you make the bariatric commode seat level too high the user’s feet may not touch the floor when seated, which can lead to accidents
  • once the bariatric commode seat height is good, place it over the toilet bowl
  • if you have the bariatric commode seat 3 – 6 inches above the toilet bowl rim, you will probably want to use a splah guard to close that open space off
  • the splash guard fits into the bariatric commode bucket platform when you are using it over a toilet

bedside commode installed over a toilet

Well known brands of bariatric bedside commodes

This next list is one showing established brands of bariatric commodes including 3-in-1, All-in-One, drop arm, extra wide, and tall static commodes –

  • Big John
  • Carex
  • DMI
  • Drive
  • Gendron
  • Guardian
  • Homecraft
  • Invacare
  • Lumex
  • McKesson
  • Medline
  • Nova
  • Performance Health
  • Probasics
  • TFI Healthcare
  • Tuffcare

Rolling bedside commodes

It’s now time to take a look at the different types of bedside commodes with wheels

The 2 types of rolling commodes –

 

  • transport bedside commodes
  • shower chair transport bedside commodes

Bariatric models do exist for both transport bedside and shower chair transport bedside commodes. There are not as many models as there are for static bedside commodes, but that is simply due to the fact that the demand is less.

The greatest number of models is with the shower transport chair commodes, but before we get into each type and the examples, there are a few more points to be made.

 

Transport bedside commodes

Transport bedside come into two types –

  • attendant transport commodes – propelled by another person who is pushing the commode user
  • self-propelling transport commodes – propelled by the user

Very transport bedside commodes support more than 300 lb, and certainly none which support more than 350 lb and above in the heavy duty or bariatric models.

As for self-propelling transport commodes, there are no commodes which will support above a 250 lb weight capacity, so there there don’t exist any bariatricself-propelling transport commodes either.

The designers and brands of rolling commodes would seem to have preferred to make all the bariatric models in the shower chair transport bedside commode category.

Shower chair transport bedside commodes

Just like the transport commodes, shower chair transport bedside commodes can be divided into two types

  • attendant shower chair transport commodes – propelled by another person
  • self-propelling shower chair transport commodes

All of the rolling bariatric commodes are shower chair transport commodes.

The bariatric models which support the greatest amount of weight are all in the attendant category – “attendant” simply means that the commode cannot me propelled by its occupant, they rely on a second individual to push them.

The bariatric models in the self-propelling category do not go higher than the 485 lb weight capacity, and are also somewhat smaller in width.

The bariatric self-propelling shower chair transport commodes are still slightly wider than they otherwise would be, but this is due to the fact that the wheelchair wheels are on the exterior of the wheelchair chassis, and not underneath as with an attendant shower transport commode.

This a example of a standard sized attendant shower chair transport commode –

 

Tuffcare transport padded shower commode chair with wheels 

Model No: S800

Weight capacity: 250 lb

Seat size: 16″ wide x 16″ deep

Fixed Seat Height: 20″

Width between the armrests: 18″

Overall width: 24″ 

This is an example of a standard sized self-propelling shower chair transport commode –

Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo shower commode wheelchair

Model No: SB6W

Weight capacity: 300 lb

Seat size: 18″ x 18″

Seat height: 22 1/4″ – 23 1/4″

Width between the armrests 18″

Overall chassis width: 27 3/4″

Attendant bariatric shower transport commode

Attendant shower chair transport commodes have the largest bariatric models, with the largest being the Arjo Carmina with an internal width of 31 1/4″ and an overall width of 39 1/4″ on the Arjo Carmina.

Although the Arjo Carmina can take a weight of 705 lb, which is almost 300 lb more than the  strongest self propelling shower chair transport commode, there is a slightly smaller attendant commode which can take more weight – Gendron bariatric shower transport commode whichhas a maximum weight capacity of 750 lb, but its frame is smaller than the Arjo Carmina.

 

Some examples of attendant bariatric shower commodes are –

 

Mor Medical New Era shower commode chair with wheels 

Model No: DNE 126

Weight capacity: 435 lb

Seat size: 16 3/4″ wide  x 17″ deep

Fixed seat height: 20 1/2 “

Width between the armrests: 26″

Overall chassis width: 29 1/2″

The seat is a 3/4″ wider, and 1″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 5 1/2″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is the same as the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Convaquip Model 131-5 bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: 131-5

Weight capacity: 700 lb

Seat size: 30″ wide x 23″ deep

Fixed seat height: 22 1/4″

Width between the armrests: 30″

Overall chassis width: 34″

The seat is a 14″ wider, and 7″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 10″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 2 1/4′ higher the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Gendron bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: 5228

Weight capacity: 750 lb

Seat size: 28″ wide x 20″ deep

Fixed seat height: 22″

Width between the armrests: 28″

Overall chassis width: 35 1/3″

The seat is a 12″ wider, and 4″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 11 1/3″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 2″ higher than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Arjo carmina bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: carmina

Weight capacity: 705 lb

Seat size: 31″ wide x 20 1/2″ deep

Fixed seat height: 19″

Width between the armrests: 31 1/4″

Overall chassis width: 39 1/4″

The seat is a 15″ wider, and 4 1/4″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 15 1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 1′ lower than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Self-propelling bariatric shower transport commodes

Here are the only bariatric (over 350 lb weight capacity) self-propelling bariatric shower transport commodes I know of .

The width is slightly larger than the standard self-propelling models, but as I said earlier due to the wheelchair wheels their exterior width makes them a little wider, but it doesn’t translate into leg room.

 

There are two models of the same commode –

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline

Model No: 185-24

Weight capacity: 385 lb

Seat size: 20″ x 16 1/2″

Seat height: 19 1/3″ – 21 1/3″

Width between the armrests: 20″

Overall chassis width: 28″

The seat is a 2″ wider, but 1 1/2″ less deep than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is  1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is roughly  1 3/4″ less than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline

Model No: 186-24

Weight capacity: 440 lb

Seat size: 22″ x 16 1/2″

Seat height: 19 1/3″ – 21 1/3″

Width between the armrests: 22″

Overall chassis width: 30″

The seat is a 4″ wider, and 1 1/2″ less deep than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 2 1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is roughly 1 3/4″ less than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Well known brands of rolling commodes

Here are some of the established brands of both attendant and self propelling transport commodes and shower chair transport commodes –

  • ActiveAid
  • Arjo
  • Drive
  • Healthline Ezee Life
  • Invacare
  • Lumex
  • Medline
  • Performance Health
  • Probasics
  • TFI Healthcare
  • Tuffcare

Where can you find the widest range of bariatric commodes ?

I am counting all commodes which have a weight capacity of over 350 lb as bariatric commodes.

The retailers with the widest selection of bariatric commodes made by established brands are –

Walmart – has a large range of static bariatric commodes and a large range of bariatric shower chair transport commodes

Amazon – a good selection of static bariatric commodes from established brands but far less of the bariatric rolling commodes and with very few from established brands

Rehabmart.com – a very good range of both the static baritric commodes and the rolling bariatric commodes, and some very specialist chairs for those who need something more specialized – they are a specialist online retailer

American Discount Home Medical (Home-med-equip.com) – has a good sized range of both static and rolling bariatric commodes, a good range of choice, and importantly  all are from established and good quality brands.

 

If I were shopping by type of commode where would I go ?

Bariatric static commodes –

Walmart, Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

Bariatric attendant Shower chair transport commodes

Walmart,  Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Bariatric self -propelling shower chair transport commodes

Walmart, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

Amazon can be very difficult to use, as the sellers put in so many words into the titles of the commodes that the searches end up mixing everything together so I wouldn’t buy a commode there, as I can get it done in one quarter of the time on the other retailers site, and I can sort things out more easily if I have a problem.

 

My personal favorite of all is American Discount Home Medical – https://home-med-equip.com.

You’ll find a good range of bariatric commodes from established brands.

All the specifications for every model, the manufacturers information, and the model numbers are easy to find for the customer. It’s a very good and easy user experience.

I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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Summary
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What Is A Bariatric Commode ?
Description
Bariatric commodes, also known as a heavy duty commodes, are commodes which are specifically for larger individuals. Standard commodes will support the weight of a person up to 300 - 350 lb, depending on the model. In general, any commode above that is considered a bariatric commode, and bariatric commodes depending on the model will support anywhere form 375 lb, up to as much as 1500 lb.
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