St. Mary’s Medical Center First Hospital in Florida to Adopt Portable MRI Technology

Jul 27, 2023

SMMC acquires the Swoop® Portable MR Imaging System™ for bedside imaging of ICU patients.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – St. Mary’s Medical Center is the first hospital in Florida to acquire the Swoop® Portable MRI unit, capable of providing critical brain images at the patient’s bedside, to help doctors diagnose and treat patients. The unit will also serve Palm Beach Children’s Hospital patients.

This device is ideal to treat young patients, who might be intimidated by the conventional MRI system, which is louder and bigger than the portable MRI. It has the ability to perform a shorter scan with a family member in the room to hold their hand if they are not able to remain in one place long enough to obtain clear images. It can also help if a patient is too ill to travel to the MRI suite. With the Swoop system, brain imaging occurs at the patient’s bedside, where the patient is overseen by the primary care team, without traveling out of the care environment. Bedside imaging with the Swoop system means most patient support equipment can remain in place. Recently, we performed an MRI on a premature baby in the NICU.

“By having more tools available to help patients, we can provide better care. By acquiring this device at St. Mary’s, we can better treat the whole patient and limit stress, making the focus on healing,” said Dr. Kaveh Asadi, a pediatric neurosurgeon with the Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute at St. Mary’s.

Critical patients are often hooked up to monitoring equipment incompatible with the magnet strength of conventional high-field MRI systems (ranging from 1.5 – 3 tesla). By contrast, the ultra-low-field Swoop MRI system has a field strength of 64 millitesla, which is beneficial in maintaining access to critical care and monitoring equipment for safer patient management.

While conventional MRI has the potential to be an important diagnostic tool for ICU patients, transporting them out of the ICU to a conventional MRI can delay a diagnosis or cause complications related to transport in time-sensitive settings. Moving a patient requires the coordination of a transport team of two to four staff members, disconnecting the patient from life-sustaining devices in the ICU, and moving the patient outside the safety of the ICU environment to the imaging suite.

The Swoop Portable MR Imaging System™ is an MRI with a unique design that allows brain imaging at the patient’s bedside in the ICU, where the primary care team oversees them and remain attached to essential life-sustaining devices. Further, the Swoop system’s open design offers the potential to reduce patient anxiety.

The duration of a Swoop exam is comparable to that of a conventional MRI system. However, the overall process is more efficient. Bringing an MRI system to the patient’s bedside eliminates transport and scanner wait time and doesn’t tie up the staff required to transport the patient. Additionally, the Swoop system allows follow-up scans to be performed at the patient’s bedside and can potentially help patients move sooner to a lower level of care, which optimizes bed utilization in critical care units.

“St. Mary’s is a thought-leading institution in South Florida. Their adoption of the Swoop system will be a beneficial addition to the hospital’s diagnostic toolset,” said Hyperfine Chief Medical Officer Dr. Khan Siddiqui. “The system enables clinicians to provide excellent medical care quickly and delivers a completely new, convenient, and comfortable MR imaging experience.”

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