Medical devices

Pain Pump – Application & Health Benefits

Pain pump

pain pump enables patients to self-administer a certain dose of painkillers . The process, known as ‘patient -controlled analgesia ‘, is used by pain and palliative care physicians as part of a specific therapy.

What is a pain pump?

A patient-controlled pain pump continuously supplies the body with medication. The small electronic device is used for severe, chronic pain . Medicine has relied on this form of treatment since the 1980s, especially after serious surgical interventions. In addition to clinical use for pain treatment (analgesia), it helps patients with long-term medication at home.

The application of painkillers, tailored to individual needs, with the help of PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia) takes place at the push of a button and without the intervention of nursing staff or a doctor. It regularly releases a set amount of the painkiller ( analgesic ) via the vein or directly into the spinal cord . There it reaches the required, high effective level, also known as a bolus, quickly and directly. In individual cases, an additional, technically limited available dose can be called up if required – controlled by those affected.

External models wear people attached to the body. For long-term therapies, a surgeon places the palm-sized pump under the skin with a simple procedure.

Shapes, Species & Types

A distinction must be made between intravenous, intrathecal and non-invasive transdermal pain pumps. In the majority of cases, the former remain outside the body and transport the drug through a tube. It enters the subcutaneous fatty tissue through a needle. Alternatively, the attending physician creates direct access to the vein via a port (intravenous PCA).

The size of the devices depends on the volume of the necessary reservoir. As a rule, this refillable reservoir holds between 20 and 40 milliliters. In the case of the intrathecal pain pump for patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA), a catheter directs the analgesic to the spinal cord or spinal canal.

Patient-controlled regional anesthesia (PCRA) works similarly for a peripheral nerve block – only the location varies. One application example is the baclofen pump, which is used to treat spastic pain associated with spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis .

Non-invasive transdermal PCA is another physical procedure. The attached electronic system administers the active ingredient, an opioid , at the push of a button via a weak direct current through the skin’s surface.

Structure & functionality

The basic structure of pain pumps is comparable. They consist of different technical components. This includes a lockable reservoir for the pharmaceuticals, the infusion line and a power pack or a battery or a rechargeable battery. By pressing the bolus button, the pump injects the analgesic and slowly releases it through a thin tube into the connected system.

A programmable microprocessor regulates the delivery volume and blocking intervals – periods in which the electronics do not allow any further boluses. It stores and transfers infusion and usage logs to a PC via a connection. The evaluation helps the anesthesiologist to optimize the therapy plans.

The analgesics used are mainly opioids such as morphine , fentanyl or sufentanil . In addition, medicine uses ziconotide , which was originally obtained from the venom of the cone snail, and local anesthetics.

The patient-controlled pain pumps must be refilled regularly. Depending on the size of the reservoir, the amount to be injected and the frequency, this is done at intervals of a few weeks to a few months. In the case of implanted pumps, the doctor fills the pump with an injection . The implantation of a PCA requires chronic pain that cannot be treated with other measures or only with considerable side effects . The surgeon normally places the pain pump below the costal arch in the upper abdomen after placing a catheter to the spinal cord.

Medical & health benefits

Doctors mainly use a pain pump after operations and for chronic pain syndromes. Other important areas are tumor therapy and palliative medicine.

One of the decisive advantages of pain therapy using PCA is its high degree of effectiveness. The doctor determines the amount of painkiller by determining the bolus through tests. At the same time, a blocking interval prevents unconscious or intentional overdosing. The administration of opioids leads to a short-term reduction in consciousness (vigilance). Self-administering other medication is not possible in this phase.

Patient-controlled analgesia often provides those affected with self-determined, rapid relief from acute pain. The care is reliable and the side effects remain limited. The procedure also relieves the gastrointestinal tract . For patients, this means fewer restrictions and complaints and, as a result, a better quality of life. It makes everyday life easier, especially in the case of cancer-related diseases.

Before PCA is indicated, intensive examinations under inpatient conditions are required. The decisive factor for success and uncomplicated use is that those affected understand the treatment method. Psychologists and pain therapists check whether the pain pump is suitable or whether alternative methods can be considered.

For example, allergies and intolerance to opioids, depression , severe sleep disorders or cognitive deficits must be ruled out. Other contraindications are adhesions on the spine , blood coagulation disorders and impaired consciousness. Continuous medical checks are carried out for the safety and protection of the sick. Patient-controlled analgesia is one of the most efficient options for pain therapy.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.