Tampa General Hospital First Hospital in Florida to Use New Portable MRI for Neurological Imaging

Published: Jan 11, 2021

The new MRI on wheels is cleared for brain imaging and can be brought directly to the patient, making care easier and more convenient for a wide variety of patients, including children, emergency patients and patients with coronavirus.

Tampa General Hospital is the first hospital in Florida to obtain and use a new portable MRI that can be wheeled to the bedsides of critically ill patients.

Called Swoop™, the world’s first portable MRI enables clinicians to obtain neurological images of patients at the point of care quickly, conveniently and with results that are comparable to traditional MRI. The Swoop Portable MR Imaging System is made by Hyperfine Research.

Tampa General is among the nation’s earliest adopters of the imaging system, which was cleared by the FDA in August. The hospital will be sharing data with Hyperfine to help evaluate and refine the performance of the new device.

“Using innovative technology that makes it easier for our patients to receive world-class care goes to the heart of Tampa General’s mission,” said TGH President and CEO John Couris. “We are always seeking new solutions that can help our patients get the diagnosis and treatment they need more quickly and easily.”

Unlike traditional MRIs, Swoop was intentionally designed with technology that is useable in intensive care units and other hospital rooms where metal objects are common, making the experience more convenient for patients and providers. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – Neurology found that the device successfully obtained images of brain injury in 50 critically ill patients.

In most hospitals, patients have to be scheduled for an MRI procedure and may have to wait for their turn in settings less comfortable than their own hospital bed. That means Swoop will be especially helpful for patients who are critically ill or difficult to transport, said radiologist Dr. Krishna Nallamshetty, Tampa General’s chief of staff.

“When a baby or child gets an MRI, the parents have to stay outside and it’s frightening for everyone,” Nallamshetty said. “With the baby lying in a tunnel, parents feel far, far away. With this, the parent can be with the child as they are getting scanned, potentially eliminating the need for sedation.”

Nallamshetty said some of the potential advantages of Swoop include:

  • Scanning patients in the Emergency Department, decreasing wait times and speeding diagnosis
  • Scanning COVID-19 patients at the bedside, decreasing the risks of transporting infectious patients through the hospital
  • Improved monitoring of patients in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit as they recover
  • Scanning babies and children in their hospital rooms and allowing family members to stay at the bedside

As one of the largest hospitals in America, Level One Trauma Center and nationally certified comprehensive stroke center, Tampa General is an ideal choice for this new technology, said Dr. Khan Siddiqui, chief medical officer of Hyperfine.

“Tampa General is a leading academic medical center that treats a high volume of complex cases, making Swoop a very beneficial addition to the hospital’s arsenal of diagnostic tools,” Siddiqui said. “Swoop not only enables clinicians to provide excellent medical care quickly, it also delivers a completely new convenient and comfortable MR imaging experience for patients.“