When You Are Receiving Both IV PCA and PCEA
Your doctor has ordered both IV PCA and epidural PCA to control your pain. PCA, or patient controlled analgesia, allows you to give yourself your own dose of medicine to relieve pain. PCA is based on the beliefs that you (the patient) are the best judge of how much pain you are feeling and that amount of pain medicine needed can vary from patient to patient.
PCA is a system used to treat pain.
- IV (intravenous) PCA travels through your vein.
- Epidural PCA enters the space outside the spinal cord using a tiny tube.
The PCA system consists of two parts: a pump which is kept next to the bed, and a control button at the end of a cable which you keep at your side. Pain medicine from the pump goes through tubing into your IV and your epidural space. Your nurse will set the pumps to give the dose your doctor has ordered for you.
Because you have a PCA into both your IV and your epidural space you will have two control buttons. When you press a button the medicine goes in. The pump will be set to allow you to give yourself a dose of medicine:
- Every 6 to 10 minutes for IV PCA
- Every 30 minutes for epidural PCA
This allows time for it to work. For a short time after you receive the dose, the pump will not give you any more medicine, even if you press the button again. Each time you press a control button you will hear a short beep even if it is too early to get your next dose. Use your epidural button first to control pain from your surgery. Use your IV button for pain not relieved by your epidural.
You can tell which button is the IV PCA because it glows green when you are able to get more pain medicine. the epidural PCA button is black, and does not change colors when you push it.
For Your Safety
It is important that only you, the patient, press the button to receive the pain medicine. Family members and friends or visitors should never press the button for the patient unless a doctor or nurse has said that it is all right and showed them how to do it.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/18/2013
Copyright © 01/18/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6167
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