Pakistan became the first country to successfully use Hyperfine’s Swoop portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system during a surgical operation at Aga Khan University (AKU).
This is the first time an intraoperative MRI has been conducted in Pakistan, and the first time globally that the Swoop system has been used in this capacity.
In 2021, the Swoop system was acquired by AKU as part of the MUMTA Trial funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with Dr Fyezah Jehan as Principal Investigator. This research study utilised the portable MRI system to assess brain development of babies at their bedside, investigating the extent to which nutritional supplements given to pregnant women affected the brains of new-borns and infants.
Intraoperative use of MRIs has long been unattainable for low-and-middle income countries, with Dr Ather Enam, a leading neurosurgeon at AKU, describing it as a “divide between the haves and have-nots, between developed nations and developing nations.” Globally, this technology is associated with high costs, space utilisation issues and specialised training needs.
Intraoperative MRIs are widely sought-after as they enable neurosurgeons to see areas of the brain that are not visible to the naked eye during surgical procedures; after the removal of a tumour, the surgeon can immediately take an MRI to gauge if there is a significant residual portion of the tumour and if so, the surgeon can continue removing the tumour all while the wound remains sterile and the patient remains under anaesthesia.
“With its small footprint, low cost, easy mobility, user-friendliness and low magnetic field (0.064 Tesla), Hyperfine’s MRI has broken the barrier between high-income countries and LMICs in their provision of top-quality patient care for improved health outcomes” shared Dr Enam.
In this specific case, a middle-aged male had a pituitary adenoma that was also impacting his eyesight. With no other treatment options, the patient had to undergo brain surgery. Upon removal of the tumour, the operative team utilised the Swoop system and were satisfied to note that there were no complications. The system allowed the surgeons to confidently make this decision and in doing so, reduced the risk to the patient.
AKU alumnus Dr Khan Siddiqui, MBBS Class of 1996, who is currently Hyperfine’s chief medical officer and chief strategy officer shares “We are excited to see AKU advancing the science of ultra-low-field MRI and helping to support our global health mission of improving global access to the diagnostic benefits of MR neuroimaging”.