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Product Review: Rapid Cardiac Analysis Tool

In an increasingly digital world the R-CAT (Rapid Cardiac Analysis Tool) is a refreshing return to a study guide and reference tool that I can easily hold, access from a BDU or shirt pocket, and rapidly reference.

I recently was able to review two versions, given to me at EMS World Expo 2011, of the R-CAT.

R-CAT for Arrhythmias

Image from EKG Concepts

Twelve double sided panels provide brief instruction on rhythm analysis and recognition criteria for 41 six second Lead II cardiac rhythms. Each rhythm includes common teaching/recognition points that are relevant to rhythm such as the presence of P-waves or the QRS width.

R-CAT-12 for STEMI

Image from EKG Concepts

This version teaches recognition of ST elevation and the correlation between ST elevation and the area of infarct. I have reviewed lots of 12 lead instruction tools and I am convinced there is not a single tool that is superior to all others. Nonetheless, the R-CAT-12 for STEMI would be a good addition to your study toolbox.

Two features really stood out to me. First, each injury clearly shows the changes in the contiguous leads and the area of injury in the myocardium. Second, the final panel contains a clear panel with a thin red line. Place the clear panel over a 12 lead strip and see if the ST segment is greater than 1mm above the isoelectric line (baseline).

Uses of the R-CAT

Certainly a leading use of the R-CAT products would be for initial study and learning of cardiac arrhythmias by paramedic, nursing, and medical students. I also think they are a nice reference guide for a new paramedic or an easy to show teaching tool for a paramedic preceptor.

Compared to an iPhone or Android app using or teaching with the R-CAT doesn’t require turning on a device, launching an app, and risk of contaminating your smartphone. The R-CAT is a durable laminated surface that can be marked with a dry erase marker and easily wiped clean.

Order and Learn More

My primary suggestion for improving the R-CAT is to make the website part of the learning experience. I have encouraged the designer, Gary Krause, who is also a long time educator, to add videos on different ways  the R-CAT can be used  in the classroom, learning lab, simulation center, or at the patient’s side. He could also post lead II strips and 12-leads for students to practice their interpretation skills or links to online collections of 12-leads.

Order and learn more about the R-CAT at

Have you used the R-CAT? Share your experience in the comments. 

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By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.