Measurement properties of the 6‐min walk test in individuals with exercise‐induced pulmonary arterial hypertension

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Background:  Exercise‐induced pulmonary arterial hypertension (EIPAH) is associated with reduced peak exercise cardiac output (CO) and aerobic capacity (peak ). We investigated the validity of the encouraged 6‐min walk test (6MWT) to identify exercise limitation and estimate aerobic capacity in subjects with EIPAH.

Methods:  Seventeen subjects with EIPAH (56 ± 14 years, 15 women) and 20 healthy controls (57 ± 13 years, 19 women) underwent two encouraged 6MWTs and a symptom‐limited cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET). To measure central haemodynamics, subjects with EIPAH performed the CPET with a pulmonary artery catheter in situ.

Results:  Compared with controls, subjects with EIPAH had reduced peak (1.2 ± 0.4 vs 1.7 ± 0.5, L/min, P < 0.01), 6‐min walk distance (6MWD) (575 ± 86 vs 669 ± 76 m, P < 0.001) and 6‐min walk work (6MWW) (39 ± 11 vs 45 ± 7, P < 0.01). In subjects with EIPAH, there was a moderate correlation between 6MWD and peak (r= 0.72, P < 0.01) and a strong correlation between 6MWW and peak (r= 0.86, P < 0.001). There were significant correlations between 6MWD and peak CO (r= 0.59, P < 0.05), and between peak and peak CO (r= 0.55, P < 0.05). Peak heart rate was similar in the CPET and 6MWT in subjects with EIPAH (133 ± 15 vs 133 ± 19 beats/min, P= 0.8).

Conclusions:  The encouraged 6MWT identifies reduced exercise capacity and provides a valid estimate of aerobic capacity in EIPAH.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2011

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