Patient Controlled Analgesia Explained

Controlling Severe Pain Can Be Easier With a PCA Pump.

Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is a method by which the patient is able to push a button to dispense a predetermined amount of pain medication.

The PCA pump looks like a normal IV pump, but typically has a locking mechanism that allows the narcotic medication to kept under lock and key. The pump also has a security feature that allows only individuals with the security code to make changes to the dose the pump delivers.

The pump has a push button on a long cord which the patient keeps at their bedside. 

Here's How it Works

The physician determines the appropriate dosage for the pain medication, choosing a dose and how frequently the dose can be given. A maximum dose per hour is also determined. The pain medication is placed on a pump very similar to a regular IV pump but with a trigger button. For example, the patient may have 1 mg of Morphine every 6 minutes, and a maximum of 6 mg of Morphine per hour. When the patient is feeling the need for a dose of pain medication, they press the trigger button. If the patient has not exceeded the maximum dose, and (in this scenario) hasn't had a dose in the last six minutes, a dose of pain medication is given through their IV.

PCA pumps can also be connected to an epidural, but are most commonly given via IV. Some medications commonly used in PCA pumps include Fentanyl, Dilaudid and morphine.

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