Product Reviews

Product Review: Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia Tool

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When I first learned to read ECGs (aka EKGs) I tried to collect a set of strips from a monitor connected to a rhythm generator. I quickly had an envelope stuffed with strips that had been folded, crumpled, and frayed. As I made notes on the strip, to analyze the rhythm, the strip could not be used again. I also tried several computer programs but was never satisfied with not being able to hold the strip in my hands, count the squares, or easily measure or eyeball the intervals. Since I was never satisfied with the tools I had, that is why I am so excited about the Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia Tool for learning and teaching ECG interpretation.

About the R-CAT

The Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia Tool is an eight panel laminated card for teaching and learning basic cardiac rhythm interpretation. The front panel includes a diagram of the cardiac electrical conduction system and the main things to evaluate when examining any rhythm strip like the p-wave and p-r interval. Inside are seven 8 1/2″ x 11″ panels that display 41 different cardiac rhythms – from normal sinus to asystole.

Created by an Educator

The Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia Tool was created by Gary Krause who is a trauma nurse specialist and ACLS instructor. He is also the designer and marketer of the R-CAT. I am always intrigued by products developed by educators and patient care providers that have an idea and go for it. Gary had an idea to make a teaching tool and he did it on his own.

When I met Gary at the Wisconsin EMS Association conference he enthusiastically demonstrated how to use the tool for teaching by drawing on the laminated surface with a dry erase marker. An educator could use this handy feature to illustrate the electrical conduction system, where blocks occur, and key differences in each rhythm. Then simply erase the markings with a damp cloth and start new – just like I wanted to do with my tattered collection of paper strips. Below each rhythm is a few words about the specific characteristics of the rhythm.

Laminated for Long-Term Use

Because it is compact and laminated the Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia tool can be used over and over for teaching or an ongoing study tool for a student that is learning rhythm interpretation or an EMS professionals that wants to review the concepts of rhythm analysis. It also comes pre-punched for easy insertion into a student binder, teacher lesson plan, or attachment to a crash cart in the hospital or action counter in the ambulance.

Learn more and purchase the Rapid Cardiac Arrhythmia Tool from


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.