Tampa General Hospital (TGH) 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 device enables clinicians to obtain neurological images of critically ill patients at the point of care quickly. 

Tampa General is among the nation’s earliest adopters of the FDA-cleared imaging system, which is manufactured by Hyperfine Research. 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,” says 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, says radiologist Krishna Nallamshetty, MD, 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 says. “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 says 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 a level-one trauma center and nationally certified comprehensive stroke center, Tampa General is an ideal choice for this new technology, says Khan Siddiqui, MD, 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 says. “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.”