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Diagnostic Tests 2023

6-minute walk test: what it is for and how é done

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6-minute walk test: what it is for and how é done
6-minute walk test: what it is for and how é done

Taking the 6-minute walk test is a good way to find out the respiratory, cardiac and metabolic capacity of a person who has a condition such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or who has had heart or lung, for example.

The main objective of the test is to verify the distance that the person can walk for 6 minutes in a row, and to assess cardiac and respiratory function, the person's heart rate and pressure must be measured, before and after the test is performed. accomplished.

What is it for

The 6-minute gait test is used to assess respiratory and cardiac capacity in the following situations:

  • After lung transplant surgery,
  • After bariatric surgery;
  • Heart failure;
  • In case of COPD;
  • Cystic Fibrosis;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Pulmonary hypertension;
  • Lung cancer.

The test must be performed at least 2 hours after a meal and the person can continue taking their medication as usual. Clothing must be comfortable and tennis shoes must be worn.

How testing is done

To perform the test, you must sit and rest for 10 minutes. Then the pressure and pulse are measured and then the walk must be started, in a flat place, with at least 30 meters in length, during the 6 minutes that must be timed. The pace should be as fast as the person can, without running, but steadily.

Ideally, the person should be able to walk normally for 6 minutes without stopping, but they are allowed to stop for breath or lean against a wall, and if this happens, the doctor may ask if they want to stop the test immediately or if you want to continue.

When it reaches 6 minutes, the person should sit and immediately the pressure and pulse should be measured again and the therapist should ask if the person is very tired or not, and the distance walked should also be measured. These values ​​should be re-measured at minutes 7, 8, and 9 immediately after completing the test.

The test must be performed again in less than 1 week, and the results must be compared, so that the values ​​are more correct.

When not performing the test

The walk test should not be performed in case of unstable angina, which is when the person has chest pain that lasts for more than 20 minutes, or in case of a heart attack for less than 30 days.

Other situations that may prevent this test from being performed are heart rate above 120bpm, systolic pressure above 180, and diastolic pressure above 100mmHg.

Stop taking the test if the person has:

  • Chest pain;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Sweat;
  • Pale;
  • Dizziness or
  • Cramping.

As this test can increase blood pressure and heart rate, if there is a suspicion that the person may feel unwell or have a heart attack, the test should be performed while still in the hospital, during hospitalization, or in a clinic where immediate help can be provided if necessary. However, despite being a stress test, there are practically no deaths recorded due to the test.

Reference values

Reference values ​​vary greatly depending on the author, so the best way to assess the person is to take the test twice, less than 7 days apart, and compare the results.The person should report how they feel as soon as the test is over, which helps to determine their level of motor and breathing capacity. The Borg school is used to assess the level of shortness of breath that the person may present, and varies from zero to 10, where zero is: I have no shortness of breath, and 10 is: unable to continue walking.

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