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Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety: The Path to a Safer PCA Pump - Improving Patient Safety with Integrated Capnography
Date:6/28/2012

PCA use. On July 15, 2010, Amanda, an 18 year old girl, was admitted to a local hospital for treatment of a virus that was causing mouth and throat pain. She was placed on a PCA pump to allow her to control when the pain medication was administered. The next morning Amanda was found unresponsive and died.

The most recent PCA pump in its evolution allows safer use through the use of Capnography and Pulse Oximetry. Capnography is a device that monitors a patient’s CO2 output. Unlike its predecessor, a drop in the adequacy of ventilation immediately shuts off the PCA pump and an alarm is also sounded to alert nearby nurses of the patient’s declining health. This “forcing function” does not allow the prescribed sedative to be administered until the patient has been assessed by a healthcare professional.

As Bryanne Patail, biomedical engineer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA), National Center for Patient Safety explains:
The strongest fix for PCA pumps is a forcing function, such as an integrated end tidal CO2 monitor that will pause the pump if a possible over infusion occurred.

The VHA says using PCA pumps with integrated capnography “could prevent more than 60 percent of adverse events related to PCA pumps”.

According to Michael Wong of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, new terminology for PCA pumps is needed, “Most hospitals across the United States are using PCA that is often referred to as ‘smart’. However, ‘smart’ pumps are old technology. PCA pumps that are integrated with capnography represent the latest technological innovation that, as Veterans Health Admini
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Source: PRWeb
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