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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 685094, 7 pages
Research Article

Validation of a Novel Traditional Chinese Medicine Pulse Diagnostic Model Using an Artificial Neural Network

1School of Nursing, Caritas Medical Centre, Hong Kong
2Department of Health and Physical Education, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong
3Tung Wah College, Hong Kong
4School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Received 3 April 2011; Revised 27 June 2011; Accepted 12 July 2011

Academic Editor: Vitaly Napadow

Copyright © 2012 Anson Chui Yan Tang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In view of lacking a quantifiable traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pulse diagnostic model, a novel TCM pulse diagnostic model was introduced to quantify the pulse diagnosis. Content validation was performed with a panel of TCM doctors. Criterion validation was tested with essential hypertension. The gold standard was brachial blood pressure measured by a sphygmomanometer. Two hundred and sixty subjects were recruited (139 in the normotensive group and 121 in the hypertensive group). A TCM doctor palpated pulses at left and right cun, guan, and chi points, and quantified pulse qualities according to eight elements (depth, rate, regularity, width, length, smoothness, stiffness, and strength) on a visual analog scale. An artificial neural network was used to develop a pulse diagnostic model differentiating essential hypertension from normotension. Accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity were compared among various diagnostic models. About 80% accuracy was attained among all models. Their specificity and sensitivity varied, ranging from 70% to nearly 90%. It suggested that the novel TCM pulse diagnostic model was valid in terms of its content and diagnostic ability.