Watkins Medical Centre
Level 8, 225 Wickham Terrace,
Spring Hill QLD, 4000

All appointments
Phone: (07) 3831 7034

What is a patient controlled analgesia device (PCA) ?

A patient controlled analgesia device (PCA) is a special computer controlled syringe pump. It allows a preprogrammed volume of fluid to be injected into an intravenous drip line. A individually prescribed concentration of a narcotic solution (usually morphine) is loaded into the syringe. A button on a wire lead is connected to the machine for the patient to operate. A single push of the button by the patient will cause a preprogrammed volume of the narcotic to be injected. The machine is programmed so that a maximum dose per hour cannot be exceeded and that there can be no more than a certain number of successful button presses in a 10 minute period. If either the hourly dose limit or the maximum number of successful button pushes is exceded the button push will simply not deliver any drug. This system has a number of distinct advantages.

  1. It gives you the patient, control. You don't need to rely on anyone else. For instance you don't need to wait  for a nurse, who may be otherwise busy, to get you a tablet or give an injection.This alone makes patients much less fearful of post operative pain.
  2. Studies show that this system gives better pain control with a smaller dose of narcotic.
  3. The system is very safe. By giving small frequent doses the risk of overdose is virtually eliminated. If you were to become very drowsy or even unconscious you would not be able to press the button !