Developmental Trajectories and Reference Percentiles for the 6-Minute Walk Test for Children With Cerebral Palsy

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purposes of this study were to document longitudinal developmental trajectories in 6-minute walk test (6MWT) distances and to develop age-specific reference percentiles for children across different Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels.

Methods: A total of

456 children with cerebral palsy ages 3 to 12 years of, GMFCS levels I to III participated. Children's motor function was classified on the GMFCS, and children completed the 6MWT 2 to 5 times in 2 years.

Results:

Longitudinal developmental trajectories support that 6MWT distances increase with age followed by a tapering, as children approach their functional limit relative to their GMFCS level. Reference percentile graphs were created to monitor change over time.

Conclusions:

The 6MWT longitudinal developmental trajectories, reference percentiles, and interpretation of percentile change should assist collaborative and proactive intervention planning relative to functional walking capacity for children with cerebral palsy.

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