The 6MWT is a critical submaximal exercise test in the assessment of PAH. The absolute distance achieved at baseline has been associated with prognosis and the test can be used to assess for response to treatment. It has been long established as a key outcome in clinical drug trials. The important feature in the walk is to ensure that it has been carried out in accordance with the ATS recommendations. Furthermore it is important to note if the test has been performed on oxygen, that the heart rate rises to ensure the patient has exerted themselves and in PAH desaturation occurs.
Links to further reading:
- The Joint Task Force for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). 2015 ESC/ERS Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension. European Heart Journal (2016) 37, 22
- Nickel N, Golpon H, Greer M, Knudsen L, Olsson K, Westerkamp V, Welte T, Hoeper MM. The prognostic impact of follow-up assessments in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Eur Respir J 2012;39: 589–596.