Cardiovascular Laboratory

The Cardiovascular Laboratory, under the direction of Roberto Ruiz, MD, FACP, is focused primarily on early intervention of heart disease and related conditions. The number one cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease with an epidemic of pre-diabetes and diabetes.

The goal of our facility is to promote healthy living lifestyles to prevent risks for heart disease and manage and/or treat active heart disease. Utilizing a set of standards through diagnostic criteria and protocol adherence we have the ability to perform high-quality non-invasive ultrasounds. The results provides an objective and reliable assessments for many types of vascular conditions and initial diagnostic evaluation of vascular disease and follow-up studies that help in the assessment of disease progression or response to therapies.

Roberto Ruiz, MD of Southwest Internal Medicine Group is the first physician in Phoenix, Arizona to receive recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance Heart/Stroke Recognition Program. NCQA’s Heart/Stroke Recognition means that clinicians have met standards showing they are providing high quality, evidence–based care for their CVD and stroke patients. This voluntary program is designed to recognize clinicians who have met standards demonstrating delivery of high-quality care to patients with cardiovascular disease and/or stroke. Our facility has also been accredited since 2008 by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) for our Echocardiography Laboratory.


The non-invasive ultrasounds performed are:

This exam is performed to detect congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, blood clots or tumors, pumping function of the heart, fluid build-up in the pericardium (the sac around the heart), and problems with the aorta. The aorta is the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body. This test uses ultrasound-high frequency sound waves-to create images of the heart’s chambers, valves, wall motion, and blood flow patterns. This test is performed by applying the ultrasound probe to different areas of the chest wall.


  • Aortic or Major Arterial Disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiac Masses
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Hypertension
  • Infective Endocarditis
  • Ischaemic Heart Disease (known or suspect)
  • Native Valvular Regurgitations or Disorders
  • Neurological Disease
  • Palpitations
  • Pericardial Disease
  • Pre-operative Echocardiography (surgery)
  • Prosthetic Valve Assessment
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Syncope

Carotid Artery Duplex Scan

This ultrasound is performed to assess occlusion (blockage) or stenosis (narrowing) of the carotid arteries of the neck and/or branches of the carotid artery. The test results will help your doctor plan treatment to remove the plaque and help prevent a stroke.


  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
  • Previous Stroke
  • Bruits
  • Vertigo
  • Trauma

Arterial Duplex Ultrasounds / Ankle-brachial Index (ABI)

This exam is performed to evaluate for any peripheral vascular disease. Ankle-brachial (ABI) index will take blood pressure of your legs. You will need to wear blood pressure cuffs on your legs for this test.


  • Claudication
  • Rest pain
  • Weakness in lower extremities
  • Decreased pulsed on physical examination
  • Follow-up of known stenosis
  • Post-op or post intervention
  • Trauma

Venous Duplex Ultrasound

This exam is performed to evaluate for any blood clots and/or venous insufficiency of the legs.


  • Swelling
  • Leg pain of unknown etiology
  • Possible Pulmonary Embolus
  • Dyspnea

Abdominal Duplex Ultrasound

This exam is performed to evaluate the abdominal aorta for aneurysmal areas or areas that may have plaque build-up.


  • Smoker and/or former smoker with previous history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and/or chronic kidney disease
  • Family history of Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm (AAA) or age >60
  • Claudication
  • Diminished pulses in physical examination
  • Pulsatile abdominal mass
  • Abdominal Bruit
  • Bilateral leg pain or weakness

Pre Procedure Instructions:

This exam is performed to evaluate the abdominal aorta for aneurysmal areas or areas that may have plaque build-up.

  • Avoid using heavy creams, perfume, or cologne.
  • Recommend comfortable clothing.

During the course of the exam(s), you may be asked one or more of the following:

  • wear a medical gown
  • lie down and lie down in different body positions.
  • take deep breathes, hold, and exhale
  • remain silent and/or still during the exam

How The Test Is Performed

  • A gel will be placed over the area(s) being tested. The gel helps the sound waves reflect back an image on the ultrasound machine.
  • A wand, called a transducer, is moved over the area(s) being tested. This wand transmits the sound waves. A computer measures how the sound waves reflect back, and changes the sound waves into pictures. The Doppler creates a “swishing” sound, which is movement of blood flow through the arteries and veins.
  • You may experience some pressure as the wand is moved over the body, but there is little to no discomfort during the examination.


    Recognitions and Achievements

    Accredited Echocardiography Laboratory
    by Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC)

    Awarded for Quality Assurance (NCQA) 
    by Heart/Stroke Recognition Program (HSRP)