Is the six-minute walk test a useful tool to prescribe high-intensity exercise in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

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Abstract

Background

It is not yet completely known whether the 6MWT can be used to prescribe high-intensity exercise for patients with COPD.

Objective

To evaluate the ability of the six-minute walk test (6MWT) to prescribe high-intensity exercise for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods

Lung function, maximal inspiratory strength, symptoms and exercise capacity were evaluated in patients with COPD (n = 27) before and after a 12-week high-intensity exercise program. Criteria for high-intensity training were: 1) ≥75% of the 6MWT average speed; 2) American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS) criteria (≥60% of the maximal incremental shuttle walk test speed).

Results

The 6MWT showed good positive and negative predictive values (0.69 and 0.71, respectively), and accuracy (0.70), good reliability (ICC 0.70 [95%CI 0.45–0.85]) and moderate agreement (k 0.41 [95%CI 0.13–0.67]) with the ATS/ERS criteria.

Conclusion

The 6MWT has good predictive ability and accuracy in relation to high-intensity exercise for patients with COPD.

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