Wolfson Children’s Hospital is first children’s hospital in Southeast to adopt new portable MRI technology

Innovative new MRI system can be used at the bedside so pediatric intensive care patients don’t need to leave their room.

Jacksonville, Florida, May 10, 2023 – Thanks to a generous donation from the Jack & Betty Demetree Family Foundation, Wolfson Children’s Hospital will be the first children’s hospital in the Southeastern U.S. to adopt the new Swoop® Portable MRI Imaging® System.

The new technology can be taken directly to a patient’s room in Wolfson Children’s Hospitals intensive care units, which includes a Pediatric ICU, Cardiovascular ICU and a Neuro-ICU. It plugs into a standard electrical wall outlet and is controlled using a wireless tablet.

This point-of-care technology allows MRIs to be done while the patient remains in their room and bed. This is especially important for critically ill patients who are too unstable to be transported to an MRI or are connected to lifesaving equipment that is incompatible with a traditional MRI’s magnetic field. The portable MRI takes minutes to set up and images are available to our clinicians immediately. In addition, features include:

  • An ultra-low-field system that is safe to use virtually anywhere and allows parents to be nearby while their child undergoes imaging. The magnet strength is comparable to a refrigerator magnet but still allows accurate scans.
  • An open design and reduced noise help ease anxiety for patients and parents.
  • Shorter MRI scans, which can take between three and 35 minutes, whereas traditional brain MRIs can take up to an hour.

The portable MRI will not replace other MRI scanners available to patients at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, which includes a 1.5 Tesla, and the Embrace® neuro-imaging MRI scanner on one of the three Neonatal ICUs located in the Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower.

“Children who are critically ill frequently need scans of their brain performed without delay,” said pediatric neurosurgeon Philipp Aldana, MD, co-medical director of the Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “Currently, these scans are done in large MRI scanners in the radiology department that require the patient to be transported out of the ICU to the scanner. This transport can take time and can put patients at risk. Some patients cannot be transported at all since they are unstable and are unable to be scanned. Having an MRI that goes to them, or a point-of-care MRI, eliminates the need for patient transport and significantly speeds up the time it takes for the patient to receive a scan, and enables the physicians to rapidly diagnose and treat serious diseases of the brain.”

“We are grateful to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for providing us with the portable MRI,” said pediatric neuroradiologist Chetan Shah, MD. “Most other hospitals don’t have this option. This is a real breakthrough. In cases where it isn’t safe to transport critically ill children from the ICU for an MRI, this technology allows us to do the MRI by their bedside and get essential information about brain structures that helps us take care of these little ones better.”

Physicians providing care at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are not employees nor agents of the hospital. Services at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists employed by Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (for cardiac surgery services), Baptist Specialty Physicians, Inc.,  and Emergency Resources Group.


Wolfson Children’s Hospital relies on the generosity of members of our community. To support Wolfson Children’s Hospital, please visit wolfsonchildrens.com/give.

About Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville
Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, is a part of Baptist Health, Northeast Florida’s most comprehensive health system serving every stage of life. Wolfson Children’s is the only children’s hospital in Northeast Florida and serves as the pediatric referral center for North Florida, South Georgia and beyond. Staffed 24/7 by pediatric nurses and other healthcare professionals specially trained to work with children, the 276-bed, patient- and family-centered hospital features the latest pediatric medical technology in a welcoming, child-friendly environment. At Wolfson Children’s, nationally recognized pediatric specialists representing nearly every medical and surgical specialty work with pediatricians to provide care for children of all ages with congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and endocrinology disorders, orthopedic conditions, behavioral health conditions, traumatic injuries, and more. Wolfson Children’s collaborates with pediatric organizations, including Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the University of Florida College of Medicine—Jacksonville and Mayo Clinic Florida. A Magnet™-designated hospital since 2010, Wolfson Children’s Hospital has been named among the U.S. News & World Report 50 Best Children’s Hospitals year after year, and in 2021, was selected as one of only eight children’s hospitals in the country as a Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospital, a recognition of patient quality and safety. For additional information, please visit wolfsonchildrens.com.

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