Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of organs so doctors can see what’s going on inside the body without having to open it up. They are useful in diagnosing brain diseases such as strokes and aneurysms, abnormal conditions of the heart and blood vessels, tumors of the body, and bone diseases.
However, MRI machines are bulky and expensive. They also require trained operators and specially designed rooms due to the strong magnetic fields. These problems may cause MRIs to be less accessible and even, in rare cases, dangerous.
Technology is always evolving though, and it is not surprising that the solution to these problems is finally here.
An easier MRI experience
Swoop is an FDI-approved MRI machine built by Hyperfine, a company from Connecticut. It’s not a regular MRI machine, however: it’s portable.
Unlike in regular MRI procedures, the Swoop machine is compact, can be wheeled to the patient, and gets its power through a regular wall outlet. The low magnetic fields make it safe to use around any equipment and lower the possibility of adverse events associated with traditional MRIs. This is useful for critical patients who cannot leave the ICU or the ER. It is cheaper to make and consumes 35 times less electricity than traditional MRI units.
According to David Scott, who is the President and CEO of Hyperfine, the company designed Swoop “with the goal to provide affordable and accessible MR imaging in an effort to democratize and revolutionize healthcare for people around the world”.
But don’t let the size fool you. In an article published in Nature Communications, Hyperfine demonstrated the device’s capabilities to accurately image hemorrhagic stroke, a disease that requires fast diagnosis. The study, held at Yale New Haven Hospital, compared 144 Swoop images with either a non-contrast CT or conventional MRI and found that the device accurately detected intracerebral hemorrhage with a 90.5% overall accuracy.
The device comes with a wireless tablet, which the operator can use to control its function and view initial imaging results, which only take 30 seconds to appear as compared to the long wait times of conventional imaging techniques. It’s also easy to use and only requires minimal extra training before clinicians can operate it.
Hyperfine has now announced its entry into the UK and Pakistan markets, marking the beginning of its global expansion program.