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The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability between observers with regard to pulse signs that are observed by Traditional Korean Medicine (TKM) clinicians. A total 658 patients with stroke who were admitted into Oriental medical university hospitals from February 2010 through December 2010 were included in this study. Each patient was seen independently by 2 experts from the same department for an examination of the pulse signs. Interobserver reliability was measured using three methods: simple percentage agreement, the κ value, and the AC(1) statistic. The κ value indicated that the interobserver reliability in evaluating the pulse signs of the subjects ranged from poor to moderate, whereas the AC(1) analysis revealed that agreement between the 2 experts was generally high (with the exception of slippery pulse). The κ value indicated that the interobserver reliability for assessing subjects who garnered the same opinion between the raters was generally moderate to good (with the exceptions of rough pulse and sunken pulse) and that the AC(1) measure of agreement between the 2 experts was generally high. Pulse diagnosis is regarded as one of the most important procedures in TKM, despite the aforementioned limitations. This study reveals that the interobserver reliability in making a pulse diagnosis in stroke patients is not particularly high when objectively quantified. Additional research is needed to help reduce this lack of reliability for various portions of the pulse diagnosis.


Mi Mi Ko, Tae-Yong Park, Ju Ah Lee, Tae-Young Choi, Byoung-Kab Kang, Myeong Soo Lee. Interobserver reliability of pulse diagnosis using Traditional Korean Medicine for stroke patients. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 2013 Jan;19(1):29-34

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PMID: 22954463

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