Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) following surgery "has the potential to explode throughout the nation's hospitals in the next few years," predicts anesthesiologist Richard Bennett, MD.
Bennett's prediction stems from intensive work that he and his colleagues at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington have done with this technique in the last few years.
"We have obtained the first hard evidence in randomized trials that patient-controlled analgesia simultaneously improves pain relief and decreases sedation throughout the entire postoperative period, that patients actually use significantly less morphine postoperatively when allowed to adjust their own dose, and that pulmonary function is significantly better in these patients," Bennett summarized for JAMA MEDICAL NEWS. In addition, the Kentucky investigators found that patients taper their own doses of narcotics, suggesting that PCA has a low potential for producing drug dependence, and titrate morphine delivery to normalize their daily activities.
Bennett collaborated in these studies