Swoop Portable MRI: Interview with David Scott, President and CEO…


Swoop, a portable MRI scanner, was developed by Hyperfine, a firm based in St Guilford, Connecticut. In 2020, the FDA approved the gadget as the first bedside MRI scanner, and a recent study found that it can accurately diagnose hemorrhagic stroke, with 85 of 88 blood-negative instances detected (96.6 percent specificity).

Rapid detection is critical for successful stroke therapy and ensures the best possible outcomes for patients. The device may be rolled up to a patient’s bedside and plugged into a conventional wall outlet for electricity. This is advantageous for critically ill individuals who may find it dangerous to move. Clinicians can use a wireless tablet to acquire and view images from the scanner.

Because of the highly powerful magnets involved, MRI scanners often necessitate specialist facilities and entry procedures to eliminate any chance of harm or catastrophe. Swoop is a portable device that uses low-field magnets to keep patients and neighboring equipment safe.

Here’s a quick video preview of the device:

Medgadget had the opportunity to speak with David Scott, President and CEO of Hyperfine, about the technology.

Conn Hastings, Medgadget: What inspired Hyperfine to develop this portable MRI technology?

Swoop Portable Mri Interview With David Scott President And Ceo Hellip

David Scott

David Scott, Hyperfine: MRI systems are not available to about 90% of the world’s population. SwoopTM, the world’s first FDA-cleared bedside MRI device, was developed by Hyperfine with the objective of democratizing and revolutionizing healthcare for individuals all over the world. Patients can be photographed at the point of care—emergency departments, intensive care units and surgical rooms, global health / remote clinics, and stroke care—due to Swoop’s mobility and safety. Swoop has the potential to increase worldwide adoption, reaching more patients and bringing MR imaging into the mainstream.

David Scott: The SwoopTM system from Hyperfine is a portable technology that allows doctors to quickly identify acute brain injuries and make life-saving decisions. The system can start scanning at the patient’s bedside in less than two minutes, regardless of location, and can begin showing important images in less than two minutes, powered by a regular wall socket at the patient’s bedside, whether in the ICU, ER, or other care setting. The system’s general design and low-field magnet were created to allow for mobility in busy healthcare facilities and use in locations with high metal content, such as ICUs, without the hazards associated with traditional MRI. As a result, loved ones and caregivers can stay by the patient’s bedside during imaging.

Medgadget: How is Swoop currently used? How has it been received by patients and clinicians?

David Scott: Swoop is FDA-approved for brain and head MR imaging in patients of all ages. Swoop’s imaging reduces the time it takes for clinicians and patients to have an evaluation.

While standard MRI can take several days or weeks to complete, patients can be imaged in minutes at the point of treatment, with preliminary results accessible in as little as 30 seconds, possibly minimizing patient stays and diagnosis delays.

Swoop’s rapid results are critical for patients with brain injuries because they let clinicians to make life-saving decisions swiftly. Swoop is operated by clinicians using a simple wireless tablet, and user training takes only a few minutes.

Medgadget: How is hemorrhagic stroke currently diagnosed? How does Swoop help to improve this process?

David Scott: CT scans are frequently used as a first response for brain imaging since they are faster and less expensive than standard MRIs. They do, however, provide less specific information about soft tissues than MRIs, and in some situations, an MRI may be necessary after a CT scan if more information is needed. Swoop has a 97 percent specificity for excluding intracerebral hemorrhage (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-25441-6).

Traditional MR imaging is out of reach due to its high cost. A single, state-of-the-art, high-powered MRI equipment that can produce detailed data can cost anywhere from $1 million to $3 million, not including the extremely expensive development expenditures. The Swoop system is 20 times less expensive, uses 35 times less energy, and weighs 10 times less than current MRI systems. Swoop’s portability allows patients in severe circumstances to avoid imaging outside of the ICU, saving time and resources while lowering the chance of adverse events during transit.

Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the recent trial showing the utility of Swoop in detecting hemorrhagic stroke.

David Scott: Hyperfine has released the findings of a study that was just published in Nature Communication. Swoop’s excellent accuracy in diagnosing hemorrhagic stroke was proved in a study conducted at Yale New Haven Hospital. Critically sick patients were examined utilizing traditional neuroimaging techniques, such as non-contrast CT or conventional MRI, as well as the Swoop portable MRI equipment. There were a total of 144 Swoop exams evaluated.

Swoop correctly recognized blood-negative instances in 85 of 88 cases (96.6 percent specificity), while Swoop correctly diagnosed intracerebral hemorrhage in 45 of 56 cases, according to the study (80.4 percent sensitivity). In 76 of 84 instances (90.5 percent total accuracy), exams collected during the second half of scanner software versions were correctly classified, with intracerebral hemorrhage diagnosed in 29 of 34 cases (85.3 percent sensitivity).

The continuous system (hardware and more regular software updates – part of the Hyperfine subscription plan) is responsible for the improvement in sensitivity during the course of the trial. The article can be accessed at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-25441-6.

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