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6-Minute Walk Assessment

What is a 6-Minute Walk Assessment?

A 6-Minute Walk Assessment test is designed to help the doctor diagnose a pulmonary condition.

Who may need a 6-Minute walk assessment?

You may need a test if you have difficulty breathing, perhaps during exercise.  You may have exercise-induced bronchospasms or possibly Interstitial Lung Disease.

What to expect before the test

There is no special preparation for this test, but do wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

What happens during the test?

Before the test begins, an assistant will take your vitals. These include your height, weight, age, heart rate, blood pressure, and spirometer reading. You will also be asked to rate your difficulty of breathing using a scale. Then you will walk for 6 minutes a distance of 100 feet. While walking you may use a walking aid if currently using one. You may also stop and rest and use supplemental oxygen if needed. The assistant giving the test will be documenting information regarding your progress throughout the test. This will include whether or not you used oxygen, if you had any complications or not, or if you rested at all. It will also be noted how much distance was completed. After the test, the assistant will retake your blood pressure, heart rate, spirometer reading, and again, ask to rate your difficulty of breathing.

During the test, if you are having difficulties or are in pain, notify the assistant.

Follow up with your doctor to review your 6-Minute Walk Assessment test to determine if further action will be needed.

Source: Respironics Informational sheet, 2007

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