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Homemade ultrasound phantom models for peripheral IV insertion

"The primary objectives of this study were to compare the echogenic and haptic properties of various non-commercial phantoms" Selame et al (2020).


Background: Ultrasound (U/S) guided peripheral IV catheter (PIV) placement is often needed after unsuccessful traditional IV attempts. Commercial U/S PIV training phantoms are expensive and difficult to alter. Non-commercial phantoms have been described; however, there has been no comparison of these models. The primary objectives of this study were to compare the echogenic and haptic properties of various non-commercial phantoms. Secondary objectives were to characterize the cost and ease of making the phantoms.

Methods: This prospective observational study trialed six unique phantom models: Amini Ballistics; Morrow Ballistics; University of California San Diego (UCSD) gelatin; Rippey Chicken; Nolting Spam; and Johnson Tofu. Total cost and creation time were noted. Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship trained physicians performed U/S guided PIV placement on each model to evaluate their resemblance to human tissue haptic and echogenicity properties, utility for training, and comparability to commercial phantoms (Likert scale 1-5; higher performance = 5).

Results: The Rippey model scored highest for each primary objective with an aggregate score of 4.8/5. UCSD ranked second and Nolting last for all primary objectives, with aggregate scores 3.7/5 and 1.3/5 respectively. Cost of production ranged from $4.39 (Johnson) to $29.76 (UCSD). Creation times ranged from 10 min (Johnson) to 120 min (UCSD).

Conclusion: In our study the Rippey model performed best and offered a mid-level cost and creation time. Non-commercial U/S phantoms may represent cost-effective and useful PIV practice tools. Future studies should investigate the utility of these phantoms in teaching U/S guided PIV to novices and compare non-commercial to commercial phantoms.


Selame LA, Risler Z, Zakaria SJ, Hughes LP, Lewiss RE, Kehm K, Goodsell K, Kalwani R, Mirsch D, Kluger SB, Au A. A comparison of homemade vascular access ultrasound phantom models for peripheral intravenous catheter insertion. J Vasc Access. 2020 Oct 6:1129729820961941. doi: 10.1177/1129729820961941. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33023394.