Resources for Cardiology RotationsThere’s a lot of internal medicine sub-specialty rotations you can choose from during your third or fourth year electives, and one that is frequently recommended is cardiology, or electrophysiology cardio (ie: EKG reading), lasting anywhere from 1-4 weeks. It can be one of the most intimidating electives, especially for those of us not interested in becoming cardiologists. Your in-hospital patients will be incredibly sick, your outpatient clinic visits may be emergently transferred to the hospital, and often you’ll spend your early mornings observing cardiac echo’s, stress tests and EKGs being performed.

However, it’s a great educational opportunity, and I’ve compiled a massive list of resources, broken up into sections on ACLS, general cardiology and EKGs. You may see some sites listed in multiple sections, and there are no iPhone or Android apps listed, as I never found one I actually wanted to use. If you  have one you love, share it in the comments!

ACLS

Keep your ACLS pocket cards in your pocket – you’ll want to be sure they’re on hand. There’s no shame in reviewing your drugs during a code if you’re not needed on compressions.

General Cardiology

OnlineMedEd.org‘s Cardiology section: covers CAD, valvular disease, pericardial disease, cholesterol, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, syncope, hypertension, ACLS overview and rhythms

Sketchy Medicine’s Cardiology tag: includes the important aspects of a cardiac history, heart sounds and why S3 and S4 happen, jugular venous pulse, systolic vs diastolic heart failure, the PE techniques you need to evaluate for heart murmurs and the systolic vs diastolic murmurs compared, cyanotic vs acyanotic congenital heart conditions (good if you’re on peds cardio, too) and a sketch just on PDAs, blood supply to the heart and the corresponding types of MIs (See also: Shock)

EKG Reading

Master the Basics of Reading EKGs via a Tumblr called Aspiring Doctors, and from the First Aid blog (yes, the ones who make the board prep book)
Once you feel ready to learn (a little/a lot) more about EKGs try either:
  • Practical Clinical Skills EKG Training. This site is really the bees knees – they have an intro to EKGs covering all the basics, a nice reference guide, free lectures from EKG Academy, and excellent arrhytmia practice drills. Best of all? A randomly generated 20 question EKG quiz that gives you points based on correctness AND speed, generated from a library of 350 tracings. So, so flippin’ good. Definitely try the arrhytmia practice drills if you have ACLS coming up.
  • Life in the Fast Lane, AKA LITFL – especially the basics section
For daily EKG Practice/ to improve your skills take a look at the 6 second ECG gameWeekly ECG (has an app, but the website is free) and the intensive but detailed explanations of Wave Maven. Have trouble remembering heart blocks? Here’s a YouTube video that won’t help, much, but may make you laugh.
By Pixie

Add Your Own Suggestions!

If I left off a favorite website, awesome phone app or excellent YouTube series you think other students could use to improve their cardiology, EKG or ACLS skills please share in the comments. I’ll think you’re super awesome if you do.