Patient controlled analgesia (PCA)

Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) has greatly improved delivery of pain controlling medications to patients. This is the most common approach to post-operative pain management. You will be given a push-button which delivers a small quantity of narcotic (morphine, pethidine or fentanyl) with each press. A lockout (usually 5 minutes) is programmed into the device by the anaesthetist which prevents against overdoses. No one other than yourself is permitted to push the button. I

f the button is pushed within the lockout period no further dose is delivered. You must push the button and wait for the effect and push the button again if pain persists. You will be given the PCA machine in recovery after the operation. Recovery staff are permitted to give loading doses to get you started. With the PCA machine you are in the 'driver's seat' in control of your pain medication. Nursing staff on the wards will check your pulse, blood pressure, level of consciousness and respiration whilst you have the PCA machine. The device will be ceased when you pain can be controlled with oral medications.

For more information please refer to