Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


The objective of this investigation was to evaluate a new patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. Eighteen trauma and surgical patients were allowed to use a self-activated, intravenous infusion device for two to seven days for postoperative pain relief. Initial PCA dosage/interval settings were adjusted to provide a 0.5 to 1 mg dosage of morphine per injection with a six-minute lockout interval. Adjustments were made to these initial settings based on the individual patient's response. Pain and sedation scores and respiratory rates were recorded. Subjective evaluations of PCA indicated that 17 of the 18 patients (94.4%) participating in the study "preferred this [PCA] method" or would "probably choose this [PCA] method" for pain relief in the future. Patients self-administered narcotic analgesic to a maximum level of pain relief with minimum sedation. No respiratory depression was noted with use of the PCA device. Investigators judged and patients attested to PCA being safe, effective, capable of accommodating wide fluctuations of analgesic needs, and suitable for widespread use.