Evaluation Background: Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesic Infusion Pumps

March 18, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance

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Here's background for our Evaluations of intravenous patient-controlled analgesic (PCA) infusion pumps, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings, as well as data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor.

Intravenous PCA infusion pumps can be divided into two categories:

  1. PCA infusion pumps—These devices allow patients to self-administer doses of pain-relieving medication within the limits prescribed by a physician. Patients can activate the delivery of solutions by pressing a pendant button on a cord connected to the pump or a button directly on the pump. This type of therapy is used for postoperative, obstetric, terminally ill, and trauma patients, and is increasingly being used for less acute patients.

  2. Ambulatory PCA infusion pumps—Like PCA pumps, these units allow patients to self-administer doses of pain-relieving medication within the limits prescribed by a physician, and patients can activate the delivery of solutions by pressing a pendant button on a cord connected to the pump or a button directly on the pump. Ambulatory PCA pumps may be used as PCA therapy pumps; however, they are small in size and therefore better suited for less acute patients.

Both PCA and ambulatory PCA pumps have the following characteristics:

  1. They are designed for PCA or have a designated PCA delivery mode.

  2. A patient pendant/bolus cord is used to activate solution delivery.

  3. A lockbox is used to secure the...

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