PCA Pump problem. There has got to be an easier way! - page 2

by Java Mama | 7,510 Views | 16 Comments

Hi Everyone, So...I am in my 3rd semester (just started last week), and I am trying to stay ahead of the game. I'm pretty good with the math, but I'll tell you, I have been sitting here trying to figure out how the heck they... Read More


  1. 3
    So the PCA questions are back this semester...if someone could take a look at this and see if it's correct, I'd appreciate it.


    1. A patient has a PCA. It is delivering 3mg as a basal rate. The patient can have 1mg every 15 minutes on demand. What is the maximum amount of Morphine that a patient can have in a four hour period?

    3 mg/hr x (4 hours)=12 mg
    4 mg/hr x (4 hours)=16 mg

    Answer=28 mg/4 hours
    GrnTea, KelRN215, and Esme12 like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from Java Mama
    So the PCA questions are back this semester...if someone could take a look at this and see if it's correct, I'd appreciate it.

    [*]A patient has a PCA. It is delivering 3mg as a basal rate. The patient can have 1mg every 15 minutes on demand. What is the maximum amount of Morphine that a patient can have in a four hour period?

    3 mg/hr x (4 hours)=12 mg
    4 mg/hr x (4 hours)=16 mg

    Answer=28 mg/4 hours
    Correct =)
  3. 0
    Thank you
  4. 0
    Correct! Just remember that if a patient is receiving a basal rate, they are receiving that amount regardless of if they press the button. The basal rate is like a continuous infusion...no matter what, they will receive that amount per hour.
    So, for example, if the order is: 4mg/hour basal rate, 1mg with a lock-out time of 6 minutes...
    Total amount = Basal rate (4mg) + patient demand (60minutes/6minutes=10 demands; 10 demands x 1mg= 10mg)
    The patient would receive 14mg/hour maximum
  5. 0
    Thanks for the breakdown! Great example to print out and carry with me so I won't forget. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the help!
  6. 1
    Thank you so much for posting this. I am having an exit math test and we never learned PCA calculations and now we are tested on it and this helped out so much and i dont even have to pay you as much as i am paying for my school that is supposed to teach me all this. thank you so much!
    Esme12 likes this.
  7. 2
    PCA problems usually scare students for that reason-- they don't know the terminology. That, and so many of them are programmed to use a particular formula for all their med math problems, and they don't learn to look at the patient, the med, and the clock to figure it out.

    If somebody says, PCA pumps have two functions:
    1) to deliver a steady rate of a drug, usually prescribed for an amt/hour
    2) to give extra doses on demand when the patient pushes a button, usually prescribed for an amt/per dose, so many doses allowed/hour
    ...does that help?

    So, when you add those two up, how much can the patient get in an hour (max)?

    If he doesn't push the button at all, what's the least he can get in an hour?

    If you can think about it like that, it makes a lot more sense and it's a lot easier to figure out.
    chare and KelRN215 like this.


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