Exploring the Potential of Low Field MR Imaging in Radiology: A Fireside Chat at RSNA 2020

Dr. Eliot Siegel (University of Maryland, VA Maryland Healthcare System) Joined Dr. Khan Siddiqui (Hyperfine Chief Medical Officer) for a Discussion on the Utility of Low Field MR Imaging and Clinical Workflow as part of RSNA 2020.

Guilford, CT, Dec. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. Eliot Siegel, FACR, FSIIM (Professor and Vice Chair of Radiology at the University of Maryland and Chief of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at VA Maryland Healthcare System) joined Dr. Khan Siddiqui (Hyperfine Chief Medical Officer) for a Fireside Chat on the emergence of new capabilities in the radiology ecosystem courtesy of the launch of Hyperfine’s Swoop™ Portable MR imaging system.

Dr. Siegel’s key takeaways from the dialogue:

  • On low-field MR imaging: “There are many tremendous advantages of low field imaging, and a strong interest in AI applications, and the potential to have a portable system  that uses Deep Learning to essentially reconstruct images or acquire images two orders of magnitude faster…. that makes 2020 a turning point for low field MR.”
  • On clinical workflow: “We should avoid the pitfalls with technology and classifying low field MR as just another type of conventional MRI scanner.  There’s the potential now to scan a patient in the Neuro ICU multiple times during the course of a day. The ability to very rapidly scan a patient in a nursing home… without bringing that patient into the hospital.  The potential to have a unit that can be operated by an assistant and monitored remotely by a technologist.  This is an opportunity to completely rethink workflow and imaging.”
  • On the utility in a clinical scenario: “We need to think of this as a lab instrument – designed to answer a specific clinical question using an abbreviated scan….  Has there been a significant change in my patient since earlier this morning?  Now we can do a 3 to 4-minute scan just to answer that question. Using ultra-short sequences tailored to a specific clinical problem to find that answer is really exciting.”
  • On COVID-19: “This disease will have an enduring and long-lasting impact well beyond when the pandemic fades. Right now, we’re seeing more [hospitals] switch to portable imaging and imaging at the point of care – we can shoot a portable x-ray study through a window, where a tech can get a chest image without being in the same room as a patient who is COVID positive, and additionally,  the potential to have a single technologist monitor multiple image acquisitions in more than one location is game changing…  I think we will see more adoption of remote imaging through the pandemic, and an emphasis on point-of-care scanning will be enduring thereafter.”
  • On AI and low field imaging: “We have the potential to create an answer to a clinical question  without any images at all – the potential to do a really super-fast scan in a patient that’s not able to fully cooperate or one that you might have to take off a ventilator for a short period of time, and to have a deep learning algorithm make a determination of the probability that a certain condition that you’re thinking about clinically exists or not - you could essentially use the system to acquire signals so the whole gamut from emulating traditional high field scanners to inventions that will literally answer a specific question with or without images – It’s really cool.”
  • On the future of low-field imaging: “I think we’re going to start seeing really creative applications that use subsets and specific areas of the body as adjuncts to interventional procedures.  For example, one exciting area combines low field MR imaging with radiation oncology, and the ability to track lesions and adjust the field to turn doses on or off.” 
  • On Swoop™: “Hyperfine is pioneering the way, opening up exciting new areas and exponential advancements in low field imaging.”

“We are here to make a difference in how health care is practiced and create a fork in history to evolve practice forward,” concluded Dr. Khan Siddiqui.

View the entire Fireside Chat, followed by a demonstration of Hyperfine’s Swoop™ MR Imaging system here.

 ABOUT MR IMAGING and the Swoop™ Portable MRI System

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body's internal structures that are clearer, more detailed, and more likely in some instances to identify and accurately characterize disease than other imaging methods. However, fixed MRI systems can be inconvenient and inaccessible for providers and patients, particularly when time is critical. Transport to the MR suite demands complicated scheduling coordination, moving patients, and, often, 4- to 6-hour patient backlogs — all of which compromise the utility of MRI as a diagnostic tool in time-sensitive settings, such as intensive care units and emergency rooms. Furthermore, high capital investments, electrical power needs, and significant maintenance requirements present barriers to adoption across all populations, acutely so for developing countries and rural geographies.

Hyperfine’s Swoop™ Portable MR Imaging System is designed to address the limitations of current imaging technologies and make MRI accessible anytime, anywhere, to any patient. Swoop™ wheels directly to the patient’s bedside, plugs into a standard electrical wall outlet, and is controlled by an Apple iPad®. Images that display the internal structure of the head are captured at the patient’s bedside, with results in minutes, enabling critical decision-making capabilities across a variety of clinical settings, such as neurointensive care units, emergency departments, pediatrics, ambulatory outpatient surgery centers and more. Designed as a complementary system to traditional MRIs, new users can be trained on system operation, device navigation and device safety in about 30 minutes, helping clinicians streamline workflow. The complete Hyperfine system costs less than the annual service contract alone for most current MRI systems.

About Hyperfine Research

Hyperfine lives to make MR imaging available to everyone.  The Swoop™ Portable MR Imaging System is the result of a total rethink of MR’s potential in the healthcare landscape. What if MR imaging didn’t require a dedicated suite, extensive training or expensive upkeep? Let’s use the wonders of high-field MRI for the appropriate patients, and deploy Swoop™ at the point-of-care for everyone else.  Hyperfine received market-ready FDA clearance for its portable MR imaging for the brain and head of patients of all ages in August 2020, and has been recognized as the Best New Radiology Vendor of 2020 by Aunt Minnie and with a Best Practices Product Innovation Award from Frost & Sullivan since the product launched. Hyperfine is part of 4Catalyzer, a health technology incubator with facilities in CT, NY, CA and Taiwan. www.hyperfine.io.



New capabilities in the radiology ecosystem have emerged courtesy of the launch of Hyperfine’s Swoop™ Portable MR imaging system.

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