The patient - controlled analgesia ( PCA), Patient-controlled or patient- controlled pain therapy ( colloquially referred to as " pain pump " ) is a concept of pain therapy, which is usually used postoperatively, and allows the patient to a pain reliever ( analgesic) upon the occurrence of pain self-administer. While the term is not primarily limited to an application form or a medication group, an intravenous dose of an opioid through the activation of a microprocessor-controlled infusion pump or appropriately designed elastomeric pump is classically ( PCA pump ). In this case, after the self- administration of a defined dose of the drug, a lock is active, which allows a re- injection only after a selected time window. In addition to the only intermittent administration of analgesics boluses also exists the possibility of injecting a base required additionally permanently. The PCA is a safe procedure, occurs rarely respiratory depression as a side effect of pain medications.
The use is to allow the patient independence and ensure an optimal adaptation of the dose to the needs. The effectiveness of the pain is better than at the intermittent administration by medical staff in general.
Alternatives to an intravenous dose of the painkiller are the administration over a epidural catheter (Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia -, PCEA ), a peripheral pain catheter (Patient - Controlled Analgesia Regional, PCRA ) or transdermal systems.
The concept of PCA and the first prototypes of PCA pumps were developed in 1971 by Philip H. Sechzer.