Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

RSD(S)-CRPS Advisory
Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump
Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump

What is a PCA pump?
A patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump is a computerized machine that is attached to a
patient’s intravenous (I.V.) line. A patient can choose when to take more pain medicine
through the use of the PCA pump. The machine contains a syringe of pain medicine as
prescribed by a doctor. The syringe is attached to tubing and connected directly to the I.
V. line. In some cases, the pump is set to deliver a small, constant flow of pain medicine.
When a patient feels pain, he or she can press the button on the pump for additional pain
medicine. The machines have built-in safety features. The total amount of analgesic (pain
reliever) that the patient can self-administer is within a safe limit.

How often should the PCA pump be used?
The pump can be used whenever the patient is feeling pain. Patients should not press the
button on the machine if they are feeling too sleepy. The more alert the patient is, the
more likely he or she is to participate in a therapy program to aid and possibly shorten

Who can use the PCA pump?
Patients recovering from surgery often are equipped with PCA pumps. The machines also
can be used by people coping with other kinds of pain.

Children who are four to six years old might be able to use PCA with the help of a parent
or nurse. Children who are as young as seven can independently use the PCA pump.

(ref:  )