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6 minute walk


The 6 Minute Walk Test is a sub-maximal exercise test used to assess aerobic capacity and endurance.

The distance covered over a time of 6 minutes is used as the outcome by which to compare changes in performance capacity.

The 6MWT can be used in  patients with a wide range of diagnoses.

It evaluates functional capacity and it provides valuable information regarding all the systems during physical activity, including pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, blood circulation, neuromuscular units, body metabolism, and peripheral circulation.

The 6MWT is an assessment to measure the distance a person is capable of walking on a flat, hard surface in 6 minutes. 

Some conditions where 6MWT can be used: 




Multiple Sclerosis

Parkinson’s Disease

Spinal Cord Injury


Muscle disorders

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

The object of this test is to walk as far as possible for 6 minutes. 

If available the distance at which the oxygen saturation drops < 88% is noted.

Increases in the distance walked indicates improvement in basic mobility. 

In some neuromuscular conditions:  Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and Myasthenia Gravis the 6MWT is used for assessment and to capture any changes in  the natural history of these disorders.

The  six minute walking test can be used to identify patients with neuromuscular junction dysfunction.

By comparing the distance covered in the first and the last minutes suggests how much the fatigue influences the individual performance.

It may be used to determine a person’s exercise tolerance. 

It is  likely a better representation of a person’s functional exercise level than intense exercise.

It is used to assess individuals with heart or lung conditions such as:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary

Pulmonary hypertension

Interstitial lung disease:

Heart diseases

Pre-surgical evaluation 

To measure exercise capacity in older adults and children with other conditions, such as stroke, rheumatic conditions, and neurological conditions.

Before and after the test measurements  of pulse, blood pressure, oxygen level, and breathlessness are taken.

The number of lengths that the participant completes is recorded, and the distance calculated.

The  score range for healthy adults is 400–700 m.

However, factors such as age, sex, and underlying health conditions can alter this value.

The higher the score, the better the exercise tolerance.

The  minimal important difference (MID), is the smallest change in a treatment outcome that an individual would identify as clinically important, is about 30 m.

A decrease in the distance walk in six minutes, is linked to impaired health related quality of life and increased healthcare use at one, two, and five years of follow up after ICU discharge.

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