DIY Ultrasound Model: Cardiac

This page summarizes do-it-yourself (DIY) ultrasound models for cardiac ultrasound. Read more on the DIY ultrasound model compendium.

An inexpensive, easily constructed, reusable task trainer for simulating ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis​1​

MaterialsPlain gelatin, 1 large balloon, 1 golf ball, food coloring, non-stick cooking spray, 1 wooden cooking skewer, surgical iodine solution, a 4-quart sized plastic food storage container
Estimated Cost$20


In several pages, this article details how to create a pericardiocentesis model with cooking spray, gelatin, a punching balloon, golf ball, and water. The balloon simulates the pericardial sac while the golf ball provides the ventricular wall. This model can be constructed for about $20 and 90 minutes of time. It will last for approximately 2 weeks.

Assessment of a low-cost ultrasound pericardiocentesis model​2​

MaterialsTennis ball, balloon, gel wax, colloid skin
Estimated Cost$120


A pericardiocentesis model can be created for approximately $120. A tennis ball is filled with fluid and placed in a balloon, which is filled with fluid to mimic the pericardial sac, and placed in a base of gel wax for stability. The model is then covered entirely in ultrasound gel, and a colloid skin is placed on top.

Based on reading the article, the main disadvantage of this model is the top layer of gel which will not produce the same ultrasound appearance as real soft tissue and will be easily displaced, if pressure is applied.

Adapting gel wax into an ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis model at low cost​3​

MaterialsPing pong ball, gel wax, colloid skin, rib cage model
Estimated Cost$200


This article describes how to create a pericardiocentesis model from a fluid-filled ping pong ball, inserted into a 250 mL bag of saline. This simulated ventricle and pericardial effusion is then placed into an artificial rib cage which is then covered with gel wax. The saline bag remains hooked up to a line to allow for repeated fillings.

Modification of Daly’s Do-it-yourself, ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis model for added external realism​4​

MaterialsPing pong ball, gel wax, colloid skin, rib cage model, dress model
Estimated CostLess than $200


This DIY model builds on the previous phantom with the addition of a dress form to act as a mold for the torso, creating a realistically shaped model. The authors also chose to use ballistics gel with added dye for durability. Although they used ice under the model to prevent melting, this is not necessary based on my previous experience with ballistic gel.

Updated April 23, 2019


  1. 1.
    Zerth H, Harwood R, Tommaso L, Girzadas D. An inexpensive, easily constructed, reusable task trainer for simulating ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis. J Emerg Med. 2012;43(6):1066-1069.
  2. 2.
    Campo dell’Orto M, Hempel D, Starzetz A, et al. Assessment of a Low-Cost Ultrasound Pericardiocentesis Model. Emergency Medicine International. 2013:1-7. doi:10.1155/2013/376415
  3. 3.
    Daly R, Planas J, Edens M. Adapting Gel Wax into an Ultrasound-Guided Pericardiocentesis Model at Low Cost. West J Emerg Med. 2017;18(1):114-116.
  4. 4.
    Young T, Kuntz H. Modification of Daly’s Do-it-yourself, Ultrasound-guided Pericardiocentesis Model for Added External Realism. West J Emerg Med. 2018;19(3):465-466.
Dallas Holladay, DO

Dallas Holladay, DO

Assistant Professor and Clerkship Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
Rush University
Dallas Holladay, DO


Come for the medical education, stay for the cat memes.