Patient Controlled Analgesia Pump (PCA pump) Information
Patient Controlled Analgesia Pump is a device that allows you to give yourself pain-relieving medicine (analgesic) whenever you need it. To use it:
- You will have an IV inserted into one of your veins.
- A computerized pump that contains the pain medicine will be attached to your IV.
- Your health care provider will program the pump. He or she will decide how much pain medicine you need.
- When you push a button attached to the pump, pain medicine goes
through the pump into your IV. Your pump may be programmed to:
- Give you a set dose of medicine only when you push the button.
- Give you medicine continuously. When you push the button, a set dose is added.
When is a PCA pump used?
In most cases, a PCA pump is used in the hospital to manage short-term, severe pain. You may use a PCA pump if you have pain from:
- An injury.
- Other diseases that cause pain.
As your pain decreases, you may switch to oral pain medicine. Other therapies such as relaxation, meditation, or physical therapies may also help relieve your pain. If you have long-term pain, a different type of pain control system will be used.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of a PCA pump are that you:
- Do not have to wait for a nurse to give you pain medicine.
- Do not need a shot (injection) every time you get another dose of pain medicine.
- Can more easily adjust the pain control to meet your needs. Each person reacts differently to pain medicine.
- May have better pain control. This can help you to get better faster and leave the hospital sooner.
- May use less pain medicine and have fewer side effects.
- Are less likely to overdose on pain medicine.
What are the risks?
Using a PCA pump is generally safe. There is a small risk of infection at your IV site. Your pump or IV may stop working and need to be replaced. The main risk of using a PCA pump is having a reaction to your pain medicine. This may include:
- Itchy skin.
- Difficulty breathing.
How does a PCA pump work?
- When you feel pain, you push the button on the handset that is
connected to the PCA pump.
- You are the only person who should push the PCA button. Family members and nurses should not push the PCA button.
- You will hear a beep to let you know that the pump has received the signal to give you medicine. Then the medicine is delivered down the tubing to the IV.
- You might not get a dose of medicine every time you push the button. The pump is programmed to leave a time interval between doses. This gives the medicine a few minutes to take effect.
- If you are still in pain after a few minutes, you can get another dose of pain medicine by pushing the button.
- To prevent risks, the hospital staff will closely monitor your:
- Alertness and pain level.
- Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.
- Blood oxygen level. This is monitored by a small device called an oximeter that is placed on a finger, earlobe, or toe.
- Make sure to tell your health care team if:
- You do not get pain relief.
- The alarm on your pump goes off.
- You notice swelling, leaking, or redness at your IV site.
- You feel any reaction to your pain medicine.
- A patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump is a device that allows you to give yourself pain-relieving medicine (analgesic) whenever you need it.
- A PCA pump can help manage short-term, severe pain.
- When you feel pain, push the button on the handset that is connected to the PCA pump.
- Tell your health care team if you do not get pain relief or if the alarm on your pump goes off.