Minimal Clinically Important Difference of the 6-Minute Walk Test in People With Stroke

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Abstract

Background and Purpose:

The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) is commonly used in people with stroke. The purpose of this study was to estimate the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of the 6MWT 2 months poststroke.

Methods:

We performed a secondary analysis of data from a rehabilitation trial. Participants underwent physical therapy between 2 and 6 months poststroke and the 6MWT was measured before and after. Two anchors of important change were used: the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS). The MCID for the 6MWT was estimated using receiver operating characteristic curves for the entire sample and for 2 subgroups: initial gait speed (IGS) <0.40 m/s and ≥0.40 m/s.

Results:

For the entire sample, the estimated MCID of the 6MWT was 71 m with the mRS as the anchor (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.66) and 65 m with the SIS as the anchor (AUC = 0.59). For participants with IGS <0.40 m/s, the estimated MCID was 44 m with the mRS as the anchor (AUC = 0.72) and 34 m with the SIS as the anchor (AUC = 0.62). For participants with IGS ≥0.40 m/s, the estimated MCID was 71 m with the mRS as the anchor (AUC = 0.59) and 130 m with the SIS as the anchor (AUC = 0.56).

Discussion and Conclusions:

Between 2 and 6 months poststroke, people whose IGS is <0.40 m/s and experience a 44-m improvement in the 6MWT may exhibit meaningful improvement in disability. However, we were not able to estimate an accurate MCID for the 6MWT in people whose IGS was ≥0.40 m/s. MCID values should be estimated across different levels of function and anchors of importance.

Discussion and Conclusions:

Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at: http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A232).

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