A Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump is an IV (intravenous) pump that allows the patient to manage his/her pain medicine. Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) has become a suitable and highly effective resource of relieving post-operative pain. PCA is a medication-dispensing unit equipped with a pump attached to an intravenous line, which is inserted into a blood vessel in the patient's hand or arm. The patient is able to self-administer doses of pain relieving medication (narcotic) on a needed basis, by means of a simple push button method. This aids in administrating the IV painkillers directly into a patient's vein for rapid and effective pain relief. On the other hand, the patient is weaned from the PCA before discharging from the hospital, and given oral medication to handle pain.
Who discovered the PCA pump?
The PCA pump was discovered by Philip H. Sechzer, a pioneer in anesthesiology and pain management in the late 1960s and described in 1971.
Who Can Use the PCA Pump?
Often, Patients those who are recovering from surgery are fitted with PCA pumps. The machines also can be used by patient’s those who suffer with several kinds of pain. Children who are four to six years old may be able to use PCA with the help of a parent or nurse. Children who are as young as seven can use the PCA pump by themselves.
What type of pain medicine is used in the PCA pump?
A dose of medicine only when only the button is pushed
Both at the same time. This helps when the patient have periods of increased pain or if the patient is about to have further pain from a procedure or position change.
Once the pump is set, the patient must hit the button connected to the pump.
What is the procedure of using a PCA pump?
Generally, Patients experience pain after surgery. The degree of pain a patient experiences may vary greatly from very little to quite a lot. The patient is the only one who knows the pain level. To help doctors and nurses understand the pain, they will ask the patient to rate the pain using a 0-10 scale. Zero represents no pain and 10 is the worst amount of pain possible. With the help of the PCA, the level of pain is kept to minimum.
The doctor will order the medication and how often and how much of it can be given.
The patient should press the PCA button before the pain becomes severe or as it first begins to escalate. It is important that the patient pushes the button.
Do not wait until the pain is very bad.
If the patient is too sleepy or unable to push the button, then the condition should be informed to the nurse.
The pump keeps track of the number of minutes between each dose of medicine. It won’t give too many doses.
If pushing the button does not make the pain decrease or go away after a short time (30 minutes or so), the patient should inform the nurse.
Occasionally, a nurse may have to turn your PCA pump off after you have received a pain medication pill or injection.
The nurse will monitor the heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure every two to four hours, while the pump is working.
When the pain starts to go away, the doctor may decide to stop the pump.
At that time, the nurse may give the patient some pain medicine to be taken orally.
What are some advantages of PCA pump?
PCA pump can help patients recover faster.
Patients who are given control over their pain improve circulation and healing.
There is no need for the Medication to be taken internally or injected.
Pain relief is provided uninterrupted.
The patient feels less anxious about pain following surgery.
The surgeon predicts the dosage of the medicine based on the patient's weight to prevent an overdose.
Narcotic addiction can be avoided as the drug is taken on a temporary controlled basis.
The PCA unit is programmed to control the dosage. The unit stops working, if the dosing frequency is surpassed.
Medicine dosages are smaller and available more often, which helps prevent drowsiness and exhaustion.
What is the disadvantage?
In case, if a PCA device is not programmed correctly for a patient, it can result in an under-dose or overdose of the medication.
What are the possible Side Effects of PCA Medications?