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"Modified mixtures of PVA are found to best serve as high-fidelity cannulation phantoms" Jafary et al (2021).

Phantoms for ultrasound guided cannulation training


Tissue-mimicking materials (TMMs) have been investigated and used for decades as imaging phantoms in various medical applications. They are designed and fabricated to replicate certain biological tissue characteristics, a process often dictated by the target application. Moreover, TMMs have been utilized in some medical procedural training requiring the use of imaging modalities. One potential application for TMMs is ultrasound-guided cannulation training. Cannulation is a procedure that requires a level of dexterity to gain vascular access using ultrasound guidance while avoiding complications like vessel laceration and bleeding. However, an ideal phantom for this application is yet to be developed. This work investigates the development and characterization of high-fidelity phantoms for cannulation training. The mechanical (shore hardness, elastic modulus, and needle-interaction forces) and acoustic (B-mode ultrasound scans) properties of candidate materials were quantitatively compared with biological tissue. The evaluated materials included ballistic gel, plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC), silicone, gelatin, agar, and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)- cryogel. Mechanical testing demonstrated that each material could replicate the Shore hardness and elasticity characteristics of different biological tissues (skin, fat, and muscle), with PVA and PVC showing tunability by varying composition or fabrication processes. Shore hardness (OO-range) for PVA ranged between 6.3 ± 1.0 to 59.3 ± 2.6 and PVC from 4.8 ± 0.7 to 14.6 ± 0.8. Ultrasound scans of PVA were the closest to human scans, both qualitatively (based on experts’ opinion) and quantitatively (based on pixel intensity measurements). Modified mixtures of PVA are found to best serve as high-fidelity cannulation phantoms. Alternatively, PVC can be used to avoid troublesome fabrication processes of PVA.


Jafary R, Armstrong S, Byrne T, Stephens A, Pellegrino V, Gregory SD. Fabrication and Characterization of Tissue-Mimicking Phantoms for Ultrasound-Guided Cannulation Training. ASAIO J. 2021 Nov 17. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000001593. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34799525.