Ep5: Hypercalcemia/Hypocalcemia (CATS, Groans/Moans/Bones/Stones/Overtones)

nursing mnemonic podcast

CATS of hypocalcemia




Spasms and stridor


Groans, Moans, Bones, Stones, Overtones

Groans – constipation

Moans – joint pain

Bones – loss of calcium from bones

Stones – kidney stones

Overtones – psychiatric overtones (confusion, depression)

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Podcast Transcription

Alright, this next mnemonic we’re gonna talk about is related to hypocalcemia. So, first, what is hypocalcemia? It’s low levels of calcium in the blood. So, calcium in the blood can be bound to proteins, bound to anions like phosphate or ionized large stores of calcium or in the bones. Calcium blocks sodium channels inhibiting depolarization of muscle and nerve fibers. The effects of hypocalcemia are the results of muscle fibers being more excitable. So, as you can imagine, your signs and symptoms have a lot to do with your muscles. So, the first mnemonic I wanna explain is CATS. CATS. So, CATS of Hypocalcemia, C – Convulsions, A – Arrhythmias, T – Tetany, and S – Spasms and Stridor. So, what is tetany? That’s something I kind of tend to forget, so I just wanted to explain that to you. So, remember how calcium has a lot to do with your muscle fibers being more excitable. So, signs and symptoms do include some issues with your muscles. So, numbness, tingling, maybe some twitches. A common one is this lips, our tongue, face feeling numb and tingly, that is a classic sign. So, that’s what tetany is. So, CATS of hypocalcemia, C – Convulsions, A – Arrhythmias, T – Tetany, and S – Spasms and Stridor. And then, so that’s Hypocalcemia.


Let’s talk about some signs and symptoms of Hypercalcemia, so, it’s too much calcium. So, just think of it as groans, moans, bones, stones and overtones. So, groans, constipation. Moans, joint pain. Bones, loss of calcium from bones, because it’s leaving the bones and into the bloodstream. So, bones, loss of calcium from bones. S – Stones, so, kidney stones. And overtones, psychiatric overtones, maybe some confusion or depression. So, something to remember, your signs and symptoms of hypercalcemia, groans, moans, bones, stones, overtones. Groans – constipation, moans – joint pain, bones – loss of calcium from bones, stones – kidney stones, and overtones – psychiatric overtones like confusion and depression.


This has been another episode of the nursing mnemonics podcast by NRSNG.com with your host, Katie Kleber, RN, CCRN. To grab all of our cheat sheets, head over to NRSNG.com/freebies. That’s NRSNG.com/freebies. Thank you so much for being here today. We love you guys. We thank you so much. We want to see you guys succeed. Listen, we’re all in this together. Now, go out and be your best self today. Happy Nursing.

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