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J Emerg Med. 2019 Apr;56(4):421-425. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2018.12.015. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

A Homemade, High-fidelity Ultrasound Model for Simulating Pneumonia with Parapneumonic Effusion and Empyema.

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Children's Emergency, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore, Singapore.
Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching, Malaysia.



Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) is increasingly used for both diagnostic and guided procedures. Increasingly, POCUS has been used for identification of pneumonia and to assist in the differentiation of pleural effusions, as well as to guide thoracentesis. As such, there is a need for training with ideally high-fidelity lung ultrasound phantoms to ensure ultrasound proficiency and procedural competency. Unfortunately, most commercial ultrasound phantoms remain expensive and may have limited fidelity.


Our aim was to create and describe a homemade, high-fidelity ultrasound phantom model for demonstrating pneumonia with pleural effusions for teaching purposes.


An ultrasound phantom was constructed using a water-filled latex glove with a sliver of meat in it, covered over by a palm-sized piece of meat (skin and ribs are optional to increase ultrasonographic details and realism). This would appear like parapneumonic effusions with organized pneumonia under ultrasound examination. Creamer (or talc) can be added to the water in the glove to simulate empyema. The model can also be used to teach simple effusions and for ultrasound-guided thoracentesis and in clinical decision making.


Easily prepared, homemade high-fidelity ultrasound phantom models for instructions on identification of pleural effusions and ultrasound-guided pleural tap of parapneumonic effusion were made.


animal model; empyema; pneumonia with pleural effusion; teaching; ultrasound

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