Traditional Chinese Medicine and heart disease: What does Western medicine and nursing science know about it?

Patricia Davidson, Karen Hancock, Dominic Leung, Esther Ang, Esther Chang, David, R. Thompson , John Daly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is growing rapidly beyond China. This interest is driven by a combination of factors including recognition of potential benefits of TCM; dissatisfaction with the traditional Western medical model; an increasing commitment to holistic care and increasing evidence for the interaction of psychological factors and outcomes of disease and treatment and health consumer demand. AIMS: This review article was prompted by the need to understand and interpret the increasing trend towards the use of TCM in heart disease. In particular, this article defines and describes TCM, and analyses implications and challenges for Western health care delivery models. LITERATURE SEARCH: This article provides a review of accessible evidence, to English speaking health care professionals. The CINAHL, MEDLINE, HealthSTAR, Academic ASAP and Cochrane databases were searched, identifying literature published from 1982. Search engines on the Internet were also used. Examples of keywords used were 'Traditional Chinese Medicine' and 'heart'. CONCLUSION: Difficulties in accessing information regarding TCM have implications for health education in coronary heart disease and patient safety. The rapid uptake of TCM in both Western and Chinese societies mandates an understanding of the principles and potential interactions when TCM is complemented with Western medical treatment for heart disease. Development of this knowledge and understanding is essential in order to provide safe and effective health care to patients who use combination therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2003


  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Health care
  • Heart disease
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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